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HMRC internal manual

VAT Personal Exports: Retail Exports

Personal exports - retail exports: Assurance at the retailer: Assessing the need for an assurance visit

Forms rejected by customs officers

Forms rejected by customs officers may be sent for verification to the VAT officer for the retailer involved, using forms VAT 452 or 453 - see VATRES4150. A Customer Compliance Manager (CCM) is responsible for each of the large retailers. Where there is no CCM the form should be sent to the regional risk manager. The risk team will decide whether a special visit to the trader is necessary or whether the matter can be dealt with on a subsequent assurance visit, contact RIS

Points to bear in mind in assessing the need for a visit

Where the forms are rejected because the retailer has not complied

for example where

  • the traveller is not an entitled person,
  • tax is not charged at the time of the supply,
  • services or zero-rated goods are included, or
  • a form is inadequately completed,

this suggests that the retailer’s procedures are at fault, or not adequately implemented.

For some retailers you may not receive enough rejected VAT 407s to show a pattern, in which case you should discuss each rejection with the retailer on your next visit to identify what action is needed. However, you may receive enough rejected forms to identify a pattern. This may be strong enough to indicate an immediate need to visit the retailer to deal with a particular problem.

Where the forms are rejected because the traveller has not complied

for example where

  • goods not produced at departure, or
  • departure is more than three months after purchase,

and these incidents are occurring frequently, you should check that the retailer alerts customers to the need to depart within the time limit, and to keep the goods with their hand luggage rather than in checked-in baggage. Don’t forget that the retailer has no direct control over the traveller’s actions, but check whether there are adequate store signs, leaflets, verbal explanations. An absence of appropriate literature may indicate a communication problem.

Once a visit has been made and the forms have been dealt with, rejected forms that have not been endorsed as suspect by the Customs officer can either be returned to the retailer (suitably cancelled) or destroyed.