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HMRC internal manual

Machine Games Duty

Operational: Compliance checks: visiting premises: business checks - records check

Most compliant businesses will maintain accurate records of their business activity which will normally include:

  • the number of locations
  • the number of and details of each machine at each location
  • cash collection sheets
  • meter readings - See MGD1100 
  • reconciliation of cash to meter readings with variances reported
  • daily /weekly/monthly accounting reports, as an audit trail to duty declarations.

Some useful records will not be kept for the purposes of MGD. E.g. large businesses may hold a property register to keep track of property assets. This register may help you to be satisfied that the takings from all relevant premises are feeding though to the MGD return.

Non compliant businesses by contrast may keep minimal records. MGD legislation does not require records to be kept for each individual machine as a matter of routine. However, we do have the power to direct that records for individual machines are kept if we identify compliance risks. The relevant legislation is contained within SI 1992/3150 Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992.

The operator must keep adequate records to support and demonstrate that the figures declared on their MGD return are correct. What records should be kept will depend on the size and nature of the business but the explanation of records they should ideally keep is at MGD1180.

Guidance on checking business records under CEMA 118B is in the Compliance Handbook 

Specific details and records relating to MGD should include:

  • any rental charges paid
  • a stock account which identifies each machine by its unique serial number and by type. See MGD1200 
  • machines being moved between locations and any machine acquisitions or disposals (these may be supported by invoices or receipts)
  • dates and information about any machine that was not in use for a period, for instance for maintenance (this may be supported by invoices for work done), and
  • location and movement of games software. Many machines can make a number of games for play so there should be adequate records to identify games held and the dates on which they were added to or deleted from machines.

You should also check the build up of the MGD account and trace the totals to the MGD return for at least one accounting period to satisfy yourself that the accounting system works in principle. Where there is a potential penalty situation, you should issue the relevant Fact Sheets and follow the guidance at MGD1230