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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

HM Revenue & Customs
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VAT assessment forms: Countersigning roles and procedures

For VAT641, 642, 643 & 644 the countersigning officer procedures are as follows.

Countersigning officers should conduct the following checks

  • check that ‘debit’ and ‘credit’ lines are completed accurately from the details provide by the trader or officer
  • be satisfied as to the truthfulness and credibility of each credit, withdrawal or reduction
  • ensure that where complex calculations or schedules are involved, these have been checked and signed as arithmetically accurate by an officer independent to the officer making the assessment. The role of checking officer may be undertaken by the countersigning officer
  • ensure that unused boxes in the ‘Remittance Amount’, ‘Due to HMRC’ and ‘Due From HMRC’ sections are lined through
  • indicate on the ‘Reason’ line why the form required a countersignature, and
  • if satisfied, countersign the form and release for data capture.

You should be alert to potential manipulation or fraud. Danger signals to be considered include

  • repeated disclosures
  • disclosures shortly after a control visit
  • disclosures for repayment traders aimed at avoiding repayment return credibility checking
  • disclosures from newly registered traders or registrations with recently amended details
  • disclosures from suspect traders, and
  • oral disclosures not confirmed in writing or on a VAT652.