VAT Inspection Audit in the United Kingdom
Don’t sweat a visit from the tax office, as 3E Accounting offers insights on VAT inspection audit in the UK.
In the United Kingdom, Value Added Tax (VAT) can only be charged by VAT-registered businesses. VAT officers from HMRC, the UK’s tax authority, can at any time inspect your VAT records. To ensure that you are paying or reclaiming the right amount of VAT, it is advisable to engage some professional help. A VAT inspection audit in the UK can be done by specialist agencies, such as 3E Accounting. Such an audit will ensure your VAT records are on the mark and ready for inspection.
Vetting the VAT Records
All VAT-registered businesses are required to charge VAT on services or goods that they have supplied. If a company has paid VAT on services or goods supplied to them, they can then reclaim the amount. All payments or reclamations must be accounted for in VAT returns, which is due quarterly every year. Any differences in payment can be paid to or reclaimed from HMRC. This includes charging more VAT than you have paid or paying more VAT than you have charged.
HMRC can ask to inspect your VAT returns and records at any time, with or without an appointment. Being chosen for a VAT inspection generally occurs via computerised selection. It is based on criteria such as a business’ activity, size, trade class, and turnover. Late filings of returns will also attract HMRC’s attention, especially if it is repeated.
A visit by the VAT inspector can be a smooth and seamless process provided you have all facts and details ready. Ensure that you have a copy of the latest annual accounts and that all figures tally with the VAT returns. An inspector may ask about and scrutinise the following issues:
- VAT reclamations on car fuel which should be restricted to fuel used only for business purposes.
- Exemptions, partial or otherwise.
- Cash accounting and loss of stock due to theft.
- Taking deposits but failing to account for its VAT.
- Any land or properties that you may be receiving income from.
- VAT reclaimed on cars require irrefutable proof that the purchased cars are used solely and exclusively for the business.
- Purchase of capital equipment or inter-business management charges.
- Exports to the EU, especially of zero-rated supplies and reverse charge services.
- Business entertainment input tax or claiming CAT on non-VATable expenditure such as taxi fares, etc.
- Import tax, option to tax and bad debt relief rules.
These issues may sound complicated and daunting, but your agent will be able to help you prepare for it. Aside from readying your records with a VAT inspection audit in the UK, you can also take certain proactive measures. For example, engaging an agency such as 3E Accounting to deal with HMRC can ensure better compliance. Your agent will be able to handle all communication with HMRC and even take measures to forestall a visit. Contact 3E Accounting today and speak to our experts on how best to ensure your filings and returns are on track. We offer customisable budget-friendly solutions for all your business needs.