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HMRC internal manual

VAT Refunds Manual

Time limits: VATA 1994

Section 80 (1)

Where a claim is to recover an amount of over-declared output tax, a claim must be made within four years from the end of the accounting period in which the over-declaration was made.

For example: If the output tax was over-declared in the accounting period ending on 31 March 2015, the taxable person has until 31 March 2019 in which to submit his claim.

Where a claim is to recover an amount disclosed as being an under-declaration of output tax but which turns out not to be correct, the taxable person has four years from the end of the accounting period in which the disclosure was made.

For example: A taxable person made a disclosure on 14 February 2016 stating that he had under-declared his output tax liability and it later turns out that he had not made any such under-declaration. Assuming that he was accounting for VAT on the quarters ending 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December, he would have until 31 March 2020 in which to claim.

This applies equally where a disclosure leads to the making of an assessment.

Section 80 (1A)

Where a claim is to recover an amount that was paid pursuant to an assessment that ought not to have been made, the person has four years from the end of the accounting period in which the assessment was made.

For example: Afula Ltd sells widgets and treats them as exempt. On 17 March 2015, an officer of HMRC makes an assessment on the basis that the widgets should be taxed at the standard rate. However, it later turns out that Afula Ltd was right. Assuming that Afula Ltd is accounting for VAT on the quarters ending 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December, it has until 31 March 2019 to make its claim under section 80(1A).

Section 80 (1B)

A claim under subsection (1B) must be made no more than four years after the date on which the overpayment was made.

For example: If, on 30 April 2015, a person submits his return for the accounting period ending 31 March 2015 and, as a result of some administrative error, the amount on the return is paid twice, he will have to make his claim on or before 30 April 2019.