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HMRC internal manual

VAT Place of Supply of Services

Establishment making or receiving the supply: Evidence of establishment most closely connected

Before you make any decision as to which establishment is most directly concerned with the supply or raise any assessment, you need to assemble all the relevant facts and supporting evidence. The necessary evidence will need to include as far as possible

  • the contract(s) between the supplier and customer
  • where a business supplies services on behalf of an overseas business as the latter’s fixed establishment, the contract(s) between those businesses and the contract(s) between the overseas business and its UK customers
  • where there are no written contracts, a written account from the supplier which sets out in detail their understanding of the oral contract
  • oral evidence (in written format) or witness statements obtained from the supplier’s staff and the staff of other businesses involved in the supply chain
  • telephone bills, fax printouts and so on (which may demonstrate the extent of any day to day contact with a particular establishment)
  • letterheads (although this could indicate a mere postal address, rather than a business or fixed establishment)
  • invoices or payments for office rental
  • certificates of incorporation and other company details such as common directors from, for example, Companies House
  • job descriptions, performance agreements, and so on (which may be indicative both of the substance and reality of work performed at a particular establishment, and the nature of the supply)
  • details of how the business fits into any larger corporate structure
  • company minutes, reports and other internal correspondence
  • evidence of any information obtained through mutual assistance, and

Where the business fails to provide adequate information, you should retain written evidence of your attempts to obtain that information.

If you are in any doubt about whether you have obtained sufficient evidence, please contact the VAT Supply Team before you raise any assessment.