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HMRC internal manual

VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Assurance procedures: Aims and objectives of assurance

The principal purpose of VAT checks on a supply of goods for export or removal is to ensure that zero rating has been correctly applied. The supplier can only zero rate the supply if they fulfil The conditions laid down by HMRC in regulations and Notice 703 for exports and Notice 725 for removals. It is not sufficient for the trader to claim that the goods have left the UK. An officer’s checks on an export or removal must confirm that:

  • the transaction is genuine and properly valued;
  • the goods exist;
  • the evidence of export or removal is acceptable and genuine;
  • the description, quantities and values shown on commercial documents are correct and linked to the evidence of export or removal;
  • the Commissioners’ legal conditions have been fully met;
  • the goods have been exported or removed from the UK within the specified time limits; and
  • the trader is making the required adjustment in his records to account for the VAT if the conditions have not been met.

Officers must avoid giving any impression that they believe the goods have been removed until they have completed all their checks and examined all the requested documents.  Assessments should not be raised for lack of evidence once you have accepted that the goods have been removed.