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HMRC internal manual

VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Assurance procedures: Management Support System (MSS)

Export declarations made to CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) are downloaded daily to the departmental MSS system where the information is retained for four years.

Exporters have no direct access to MSS, however since 1st April 2006 they can pay to obtain MSS Standard Export reports from the MSS Team in Southend. In order to do this they will be required to sign an agreement to receive MSS Export Information. The agreement must be for at least 12 months and information will be distributed centrally from the MSS Operations Team within Frontiers and International Directorate on a monthly basis. Exporters can also obtain more detailed non-standard reports on application to the Team.

Assurance officers are likely to encounter these prints as exporters could use them as official evidence of export in order to support VAT zero-rating. Details of the headings and explanations of the Standard Export Entry Item Reports are shown in VEXP110090.

There is a range of information within the report that will assist you with your assurance intervention. Some of the most important information that will help to confirm that the goods have been exported will be in the ICS Code field - see VEXP110040 for further guidance on the codes. It is important that you are able to link this information to the exporter’s accounting records. This can be done for example from the Declaration UCR field if the exporter has either themselves, or arranged for their agents, to include a suitable reference within the DUCR number.

If you have any queries regarding the interpretation of these prints you can contact the Exports and Removals UoE.

MSS as an Assurance Tool

MSS is a powerful tool available for officers carrying out assurance interventions to exporters. It should be noted that MSS relates to imports and exports only and does not cover intra-EC transactions.

MSS Enterprise is a web-browser application that is used to search the MSS Database. The application is available to all staff but access is controlled by the MSS Team who can be e-mailed at: Frontiers MSS Team.

Once access to the application has been granted, the data contained on MSS can be interrogated. Standardised interrogations can be used or customised searches created according to the user’s needs. Interrogations can range from an overall view of a trader’s export activity to detailed reports on individual entries.

Assistance on using MSS Enterprise and interpretation of search results can be obtained from the Export and Removal of Goods Unit of Expertise (UoE) - see VEXP10600 for contact details.

An interrogation of MSS prior to an assurance intervention can provide details of all exports made by a trader in a particular period. Amongst other information it will show the date, route, value, type and quantity of goods, and whether the export has a proper Goods Departed Message which will provide official evidence of export. This information can then be compared with the trader’s records of zero-rated exports. Any differences should then be questioned. It is good practice to interrogate MSS prior to any visit to a trader with significant exports.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)