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HMRC internal manual

VAT Assessments and Error Correction

VAT assessment forms: VAT641 not processed in time

Assessments will normally be notified to the taxpayer on the form VAT655 ‘Notice of Assessment and / or Under-declaration’, generated by the input of the form VAT641 into the VALID computer system.

However where there is a danger that the VAT641 will not be processed in time for the assessment to be notified within the time limits, the assessment must be notified by letter, specimen letters areavailable on SEES. See VAT(LC)16: General VAT assessment letter (live trader) and VAT(LC)27a: Recovery assessment VAT credit claimed on a return.


The SEES input form for the VAT(LC)16 provides options for the content that will depend on whether or not it is appropriate to follow up the manual notification with the issue of the computer generated VAT655. Where a VAT655 is to be issued, the VAT(LC)16 explains this and informs the person that the VAT655 will provide payment instructions. Following up the VAT(LC)16 with the computer generated notification has the following advantages

  • the VAT641 would normally be completed in any event in order to update the trader’s accounting record
  • it removes the need to ensure the output documents are inhibited
  • the trader will receive his statement of account in the normal way, and
  • the trader can use the remittance advice attached to the VAT655 to make payment.

Although it is suggested that a computer generated notification should normally follow the VAT(LC)16, there may be circumstances where this may not be required or appropriate. In such cases you should select this option on the SEES input form. The VAT(LC)16 will then be automatically modified accordingly and will include the payment instructions.


The VAT(LC)27a notifies a preferred and alternative recovery assessment. When a VAT(LC)27a is appropriate , you must not issue the VAT655 or VAT667. You must instead follow the guidance at VAEC4090.