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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

Prime assessment procedures: Subsequent assurance visit

An assessment made and notified automatically by the computer system is unlikely to exactly equal the traders true liability for the period concerned.

Where a prime assessment has been accepted and paid by the trader, you should investigate the circumstances during the next visit.

When you are checking a period for which no return has been rendered, your first objective should always be to obtain the completed return in preference to the issue of an additional assessment.

  • The trader should be advised that a liability to a penalty and interest may arise if an additional assessment is issued or if the overdue return is completed as a result of the visit.
  • Furthermore, in obtaining a return official time may be saved as further consideration would be needed later if, following an additional assessment, the trader submits the relevant return for a lesser amount.

Unpaid assessments remain on file

If at the time of a visit, a trader has not paid a tax assessment shown on the Trader Report (D1600 series) then

  • ask the trader whether a return has been made, and
  • note the reply in your visit report.

If a trader has not made a return take action as shown at VAEC2610 to VAEC2630.

If the trader claims to have sent in a return

  • check on the VISION computer system before taking any assessment action, and if necessary
  • obtain confirmation from Banking Operations in Southend

Inadequate prime assessments

During the examination of the traders records it may be clear that the centrally produced assessments do not reflect the traders own normal trading pattern.

If there is a significant difference, the local office should inhibit the traders next tax assessment using form VAT704.

This will cause a Batch 58, see VAEC2210, to be produced for the traders next period.