Home For accounting professionals VAT
Current updates regarding coronavirus (Covid-19) and the precautions AAT are taking will be continually updated on the below page.

Please check this link for the latest updates:
We hope you are all safe and well and if you need us we will be here. 💚

VAT Inspection

SevrenSevren Well-KnownRegistered Posts: 101

I seem to have managed to swerve a VAT inspection up to now !

I have read the guidance notes for the visit and feel comfortable with the returns apart from an error I picked up in Box 8 which had included sales to the Channel Islands, although this causes no error with payment and I also spoke to Intrastat who seemed quite happy.

In fact, it is probably declaring this error which has prompted the inspection although Vat 101 was correct.

Anyway - I would welcome any practical experience/guidance (but not horro stories:ohmy:I am worried enough as it is !)

Many thanks:crying:


  • Jon_1984Jon_1984 Well-Known Registered Posts: 186
    Remember it is their job to find faults/errors and dont take it personally! If you system can generate audit files of the vat returns for the period under/since the last inspection then probebly best to raise them and familirise yourself with them.

    The main issue they had with our last one was invoices arriving after the period had been shut. The previous book-keeper always processed them with the given tax point. This meant when the inspector ran the P/L invoices report for the quarter he choose to pick apart (selected by dates of start and end of quarter) the box 4 figure didnt match that was submitted.

    other than that good luck!
  • claudialoweclaudialowe Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 275
    What sort of business is it? VAT inspectors look for different things in different sectors. One perpetual hot topic is fuel scale charges (or normally lack of!)

  • SevrenSevren Well-Known Registered Posts: 101
    Many thanks for responses - the business is import and export of retail equipment.

    The covering letter says to make available the last 3 years of paperwork - I came along in the middle of that period !. Do they work with the most recent and work backwards ?

    I must admit to never trusting computerised returns so I always export the VAT control account to Excel and break transactions down into different elements - such as car leases where 50% of VAT is recovered, scale charges, goods from EU, sales to EU etc.

    My attitude is that even if I have made an error, I can at least explain where the figures came from !

    I don't know why this is worrying me so much. I had an Intrastat inspection last year and the chap was very helpful !
  • claudialoweclaudialowe Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 275
    Hi Sevren

    I would have thought that their main concern is that you are charging the correct rates of VAT for your various sales, and reclaiming the correct amounts of VAT on your purchases - and that your reverse charge procedures are adequate.

    The last inspection I attended, they wanted me to print from Sage a three year VAT return, and then they compared that with their figures. As it was a garage they then turned their attention to MOTS (anything over the exempt limit has to have VAT on it!). Then it was a quick look at the purchases, and the guy went away happy as Larry.

    The best bit of advise I was ever given was by an ex-Inspector, who told me to train my clients to behave like children - only speak when you are spoken to! They purposefully leave pregnant pauses, so that in your nervousness, you say something that you shouldn't!!! And I had a client that did exactly that - so much that the Inspector asked if he wanted a shovel to help dig the hole :lol::lol::lol:

  • SevrenSevren Well-Known Registered Posts: 101
    Many Thanks Claudia

    I have religiously stuck to the VAT published rates for imports so remain confident.

    Many thanks for the advice, I am often lost for words so that shouldn't be a problem.

    In case anyoneelse has inspectorphobia I will update this thread after the event which is the 1st April.

    Yes that's right.
  • claudialoweclaudialowe Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 275
    What a brilliant date!

    Hope it all goes well - let us know how you got on.

  • PigpenPigpen Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 331
    Hi There

    We had an ispection about a month ago - Previous one before that was 4 years previously - We Import and Export too - About two years ago - HMRC had to repay us for about 4 quarters on the trot - I was suprised they didn't come out sooner

    Our Inspector couldn't have been nicer - Altho they all seem to come out of a certain mould!

    She walked away with £600 that we owed them - She was happy - We were able to claw back some of the £600 from a customer and all's well that ends well. In fact she could have made us go back over three years fuel card Invoices but she decided to "draw a line under it" and start afresh. :thumbup:

    Vat Inspections are a bit like walking throught the green channel at customs - We feel guilty even tho we have done nothing wrong that we can think of - Just remember they like to walk away with something!
  • SevrenSevren Well-Known Registered Posts: 101
    Thanks Pigpen.

    I think I will be ok once I get one out of the way !!

    As a side note - I don't know if the AAT techies have been dabbling with the gubbins, but this is the first time in ages that I have managed to login and actually not lose posts into the ether !!

    Have a good weekend
Sign In or Register to comment.