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HMRC internal manual

VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Assurance procedures: Checking supplementary records

You should carry out checks on the trader’s supplementary records to ensure that the information declared on the export entry or on the commercial transport document is consistent with other records kept by the trader. A number of suggested checks are shown below. However, these are not exhaustive and you may consider other checks.

  • Proof of payment - check that the details of the settlement match the value declared on the export entry. Deliberate undervaluations of exports can be a Customs Offence and should be reported to your local International Trade colleagues. You should also check on who made the payment and whether this corresponds to the sales invoice details. Proof of payment is a very useful means of checking the audit trail of an export but such proof does not carry the weight that it once did. This is due to the increasing sophistication of electronic banking, when money can be transferred from one place to another in an instant. It is possible for example for a UK company to pay for goods from a US bank account.
  • Orders and inter-company correspondence - you should go behind the accounting documents and export evidence to look at this type of document. Do the orders, contracts (if applicable), and any other relevant correspondence bear a resemblance to the sales invoice? For example is the agreed contract price for the goods different to the price on the sales invoice? If so - why? Is the trader attempting to suppress the value of his sales?
  • Internal transport documents, stock control records, “pick lists”, copy of customer’s goods received note (if available) etc. These are all internal records that can be checked to confirm that the weights, values, number, and description of goods coincide with the information on the sales invoice.
  • Export licences - are the details on the licence being met?
  • Exports through Fast Parcel Operators. The largest of these are TNT, UPS, DHL and FEDEX (there are also many smaller operators). See VEXP50500 for further information.