Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Assessing Time Limits: The Time Limits: What is the relevant tax period?

The relevant tax period is

  • a year of assessment
  • an accounting period for corporation tax, aggregates levy and climate change levy
  • a prescribed accounting period
  • the date of importation or acquisition, see below,
  • the date of an event giving rise to a VAT penalty, see below,
  • the relevant event for insurance premium tax and landfill tax
  • the effective date of the transaction for stamp duty land tax
  • the later of (1) the date on which the last payment was made and accepted and (2) the date on which the tax became due for inheritance tax
  • the accountable date for stamp duty reserve tax
  • the relevant chargeable period for petroleum revenue tax
  • the period or point in time when the liability arose for excise duty.

Importation or acquisition (VAT)

A person may be liable to VAT on

  1. any goods imported into the UK from countries outside the EU, and
  2. any goods acquired in the UK from another EU member state that are
* subject to excise duty, or
* consist of a new means of transport.

The date of importation (goods in 1 above) or acquisition (goods in 2 above) will determine the relevant tax period for the purposes of determining the time limit for assessing.

For importations and acquisitions made by non-taxable persons the relevant tax period will be a single day. A non-taxable person is an individual who is neither registered nor required to be registered for VAT.

VAT penalties

Where the assessment is of a VAT penalty listed at CH51250, other than one in relation to the mandatory e-filing of VAT returns, the relevant tax period for the purposes of determining the time limit for assessing is the date of the event giving rise to the penalty.