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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

General assessment procedures: What to do when pre-assessment letter issued

The pre-assessment letter informs a business that preliminary calculations have been carried out, but that no assessment has yet been made.

If the business fails to respond to the letter within the time allowed, you should proceed to make and notify the assessment.

Do not rely on expiry of the pre-assessment letter response time to evidence that an assessment had been made and notified within the time limits. The per-assessment letter demonstrates only an intention to make an assessment.

You will still need to demonstrate that the final decision to asses had been taken once the response time had expired and that the assessment was subsequently made and notified within time.

When planning your assessment, build in time for any checks by colleagues.

If your assessment is not a straightforward matter, e.g. it is based on a complex series of calculations or area of the tax, you may decide to ask a colleague to check your assessment before it is finalised.

Whether or not such work is required will depend on the relative merits of doing so in any particular case. If the case merits these checks, you should plan to ensure the work is completed in such time as to allow for any amendments, and a final decision to be taken to assess and notify before the relevant time limits run out.