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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

Types of assessment: Prime assessment information: Legal powers and right of appeal

VAT registered businesses have a legal obligation to submit VAT returns and pay any tax due not later than a given date.

This is often referred to as the due date and is normally one month after the end of a prescribed accounting period.

Where a trader fails to submit a return, Section 73(1) of the VATA 1994 gives HMRC the power to make an assessment to the best of their judgement, see VAEC1400, in order to establish the trader’s liability and create an enforceable debt for that period.

Such assessments, issued in the absence of a return, are known as prime assessments.

Section 83(1)(p) of the VATA 1994 provides a right of appeal against an assessment only in respect of a period for which the appellant has rendered a return.

Note: There is therefore no right of appeal against these assessments.

The time limits for prime assessments made under Section 73(1) VATA 1994, are fully explained at VAEC1130.

Only one prime assessment may be made for each prescribed accounting period, although additional assessments may be made if further information, not available to HMRC at the time the prime assessment was made, comes to light.