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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

Prime assessments procedures: Initial action when information obtained during visit to a trader

If you are visiting a trader to request information and that information leads to a prime assessment, you should follow the guidelines below.

Initial Action

To begin

  • make the visit without delay
  • carry out a full assurance visit if one is due in the near future
  • during the visit remind the trader of the legal obligations to make returns by their due dates
  • seek an explanation for non-compliance, and
  • inform the trader that failure to meet required legal obligations incurs a liability to surcharge or civil penalties

Wherever possible obtain the completed return from the trader. However, if the trader does not immediately make the outstanding returns, then if

  • the amount due is readily reckonable, see VAEC2570 
  • the amount due is not readily reckonable, see VAEC2580.

Notification of assessment

If it is possible to calculate a tax assessment, make and notify it using form VAT152A. Do not make an assessment using the VAT641 procedures.