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HMRC internal manual

VAT Refunds Manual

Verifying a claim: overview

Verifying a claim

We are entitled, when dealing with claims, to satisfy ourselves that the amount claimed is accurate and we are entitled to refuse to make a payment against the claim until we are satisfied.

For claims to output tax, the claimant must satisfy us that he has made the over-declaration of output tax that he is claiming. Section 80(1) provides that HMRC will be liable to credit an amount to a claimant where he:

‘…has accounted to the Commissioners for VAT … and has brought into account as output tax an amount that was not output tax due …’ [emphasis added]

The law provides that we shall be liable where a claimant has brought an amount into account, not where it appears to him or to HMRC that he might have wrongly brought an amount into account as output tax. The reference to ‘an amount’ also requires that the amount is exact, specific and accurate.

Similarly for late claims to input tax, regulation 29(2) of the VAT Regulations 1995 specifies the evidence that a person is required to hold in order to support a claim for input tax and a claimant must satisfy us that he has that evidence.

Burden and standard of proof in a claim

The claimant must prove that a claim has merit: HMRC does not have to prove that it has none.

Once the claimant has proved to the civil standard of proof (on a balance of probabilities) that the claim is good, the burden shifts to HMRC if we want to rebut the claim. In reality, once a claimant has proved his claim, we will rarely argue.

If case law support is needed, see VRM9200.