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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Assessing Time Limits: Tables of time limits for relevant taxes: VAT

  Assessment Time Limit Legislation
       
1 Assessment of VAT not due to careless or deliberate behaviour    

where the person failed to make a return

where the person failed to keep documents and afford facilities to verify returns

where the person gave an incomplete or incorrect return.

  4 years from

(i) the end of the prescribed accounting period, or

(ii) the date of importation or acquisition concerned.

Subject to

a) 12 months evidence of facts rule if assessment made more than 2 years after the end of the accounting period

b) transitional provisions, see CH51530, and

c) 15 below for a deceased person. VATA94/S77 (1)(a) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34(2).  
  2 Assessment of VAT due to careless behaviour of the person or agent

where the person failed to make a return

where the person failed to keep documents and afford facilities to verify returns

where the person gave an incomplete or incorrect return.

  4 years from

(i) the end of the prescribed accounting period, or

(ii) the date of importation or acquisition concerned.

No extension of VAT assessing time limit for careless behaviour.

Subject to

a) 12 months evidence of facts rule if assessment made more than 2 years after the end of the accounting period

b) transitional provisions, see CH51530, and

c) 15 below for a deceased person. VATA94/S77 (1)(a) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34(2).  
  3 Assessment of VAT due to deliberate behaviour of the person or agent

where the person failed to make a return

where the person failed to keep documents and afford facilities to verify returns

where the person gave an incomplete or incorrect return.

  20 years from

(i) the end of the prescribed accounting period, or

(ii) the date of importation or acquisition concerned.

Subject to

a) 12 months evidence of facts rule if assessment made more than 2 years after the end of the accounting period

b) transitional provisions, see CH51530, and

c) 15 below for a deceased person. VATA94/S77 (4) & S77 (5)(a) as amended by, and VATA94/S77(4A) as inserted by, FA08/SCH39/PARA34(3).      
  4 Assessment under VATA94/S73(2) to recover an incorrect VAT payment or credit.    
    No careless or deliberate behaviour The later of  

(i) 2 years after the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the claim was wrongly credited, refunded or paid, or

(ii) 4 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the refund or credit was paid or credited. VATA94/S77 (1) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34 and VATA94/S73(6A) as inserted by FA08/S120.      
    Careless behaviour As above.  
    Deliberate behaviour The later of  

(i) 2 years after the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the claim was wrongly credited, refunded or paid, or

(ii) 20 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the refund or credit was paid or credited. VATA94/S77(4) & (4A) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34 and VATA94/S73(6A) as inserted by FA08/S120.    
    All behaviours 4 and 20 years time limits are subject to

a) 12 months evidence of facts rule if assessment made more than 2 years after the end of the accounting period in which the refund or credit was paid or credited

b) transitional provisions, see CH51520 and CH51530, and

c) 15 below for a deceased person. VATA94/S73(6).    
  5 Assessment under VATA94/S80(4A) to recover an excess credit. Not later than 2 years from

(i) the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the amount was wrongly credited, or

(ii) the date on which evidence of facts sufficient to justify the making of the assessment comes to our knowledge.

  VATA94/S80(4AA) as inserted by FA08/S120.  
  6 Assessment of VAT due to a person’s

failure to notify liability to register regardless of behaviour

failure to comply with other notification obligations regardless of behaviour

failure to provide information about a prescribed avoidance scheme regardless of behaviour

participation in a transaction knowing (or ought to have known on the facts of the case) that it was part of arrangements of any kind intended to bring about a loss of VAT.  20 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period or importation or acquisition concerned.

Subject to

a) 12 months evidence of facts rule if assessment made more than 2 years after the end of the accounting period

b) transitional provisions, see CH51530, and

c) 15 below for a deceased person. VATA94/S77 (4) & S77 (5)(a) as amended by, and VATA94/S77 (4A) as inserted by, FA08/SCH39/PARA34(3).
       
  7 Assessments to default surcharge, VATA94/S59 and S59A. (i) 4 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period, importation or acquisition,

but

(ii) 2 years of the date on which the VAT for the prescribed accounting period is finally determined.

See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person.

  VATA94/S77(1)(a)
VATA94/S77(2) not amended by FA08/SCH39.      
  8 Assessments to interest on VAT recovered or recoverable by assessment, VATA94/S74. i) 4 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period, importation or acquisition,

but

(ii) assessments to be made within 2 years of the date on which the VAT for the prescribed accounting period is finally determined

and

(iii) assessment to be confined to the last 3 years of the period.

See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S77(1)(a)

VATA94/S77(2) not amended by FA08/SCH39.

VATA94/S74(3)(a)(b) not amended by FA08/SCH39.      
  9 Assessments to recover overpayments of interest, VATA94/S78A. 2 years after evidence of facts sufficient to justify the making of the assessment comes to our knowledge.
See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S78A(2) not amended by FA08/SCH39.    
  10 Penalty assessments in respect of the mandatory e-filing of VAT returns. (i) 4 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period, importation or acquisition,

but

(ii) assessments to be made within 2 years of the date on which the VAT for the prescribed accounting period is finally determined.

See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S77(1)(a)
VATA94/S77(2) not amended by FA08/SCH39.    
  11 Penalty assessments relating to

EC sales statements

breach of record-keeping requirements in relation to transaction in gold.  (i) 4 years from the event giving rise to the penalty,

but

(ii) assessments to be made within 2 years after evidence of facts sufficient to justify the making of the assessment comes to our knowledge.

See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S77(1)(b)

VATA94/S77(2A) not amended by FA08/SCH39.

VATA94/S69A(4) not amended by FA08/SCH39.      
  12 Penalty assessments for breaches of regulatory provisions specified in VATA94/S69(1)(c) - (f). (i) 4 years from the event giving rise to the penalty,

but

(ii) an assessment cannot be made unless a written warning of the consequences of continuing to fail to comply was issued in the 2 years before the date the assessment is made.

See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S77(1)(b)
VATA94/S76(2) not amended by FA08/SCH39.    
  13 Assessment of penalties in respect of

incorrect certificates as to zero-rating

a failure to notify before 1 April 2010

unauthorised issue of invoices before 1 April 2010

a breach of a walking possession agreement

a breach of regulatory provisions (other than those in VATA94/S69(1)(c) - (f))

a breach of record-keeping requirements imposed by directions.  4 years from the date of the event giving rise to the penalty.
See 15 below for assessments on a deceased person. VATA94/S77 (1)(b) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34(2).      
  14 Assessments in consequence of a direction (anti-avoidance provision: groups) under VATA94/SCH9A/PARA6 Assessments to be made within 1 year of the date the direction was given. VATA94/Sched9A 6(6)(a) not amended by FA08/SCH39.
  15 Any assessment of VAT, interest, penalty or surcharge on the personal representatives of a deceased person in respect of periods up to the date of death. Any assessment must be made within 4 years of the date of death. Subject also to the other rules for the particular type of assessment. VATA94/S77 (5)(a) & (b) as amended by FA08/SCH39/PARA34(3).