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If you are registered for VAT, you have responsibilities to ensure that VAT is correctly accounted for and paid to HMRC in a timely manner. Officers have a duty to make sure that all businesses that are registered for it pay the correct amount on time, and that up to date records are maintained. VAT officers will make visits to business premises, lasting from a few hours to a longer period of several days.

Your responsibility as a VAT registered business

Every company that is registered for VAT must account for it in the correct manner and retain various documents, which includes invoices and receipts, both issued and received by the company. The records must be legible, accurate and up to date. It should also be possible for officers to easily reconcile the figures you have recorded.

Why you may be visited by HMRC officers

VAT checks are part of the routine procedure carried out on businesses to make sure that accurate and up to date records are being kept. The officers will also want to check that the correct amount of VAT is being paid. You are permitted to ask questions about the visit, and officers will explain what will happen during the checks. You may be asked to provide more information and given a deadline for providing this. Occasionally, you may receive a phone call or letter asking for information, rather than being visited by VAT officers.

What happens during an inspection

You may be visited by officers on a regular basis if you have previously submitted late payments or VAT returns, or paid the wrong amount. The length of the visit will vary according to various factors, such as the size of your business and whether you have all the relevant information to hand. You will usually be visited by just one officer, although a second officer may be present if there’s more work to be done or an officer is being trained. The person who deals with the VAT will have to be available during the visit.

The check will take place at your business address so that the officers can see your premises. It also helps them to better understand your business and how it operates. If you work mainly from home, you can arrange to hold the meeting at the premises of your accountants, as long as all necessary records are available.



About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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