What starts and stops the 30 day clock?
The law – S79 (2A) and (3) VATA 1994
The law provides a start date and an end date for the 30 days allowed to issue a written instruction for a repayment. But it also allows time for HMRC to take some actions that stop the 30 day clock when they are begun and restart it when they are completed.
The clock starts on the later of
- the day we receive the return or claim (shown on VISION), and
- the day after the end of the prescribed accounting period to which the return or claim relates. This is because a business is not entitled to the input tax claimed until after the end of the period.
However, if there are earlier missing returns the clock will not start until they are submitted.
Clock stops and then restarts
The clock stops while we
- raise enquiries and consider responses about the validity of the return or claim, or
- correct any arithmetical errors or omissions on it, or
- have to amend the trader’s details.
The clock also stops while the trader takes time to comply with a requirement to provide security or to provide documents in support of the return. But we have a responsibility to chase traders after 14 days if they delay in providing information. Failure to do so would be deemed Departmental delay. When these situations are completed, the clock restarts.
The clock finally stops on the day we issue the written instructions to make the repayment or refund. Tribunals have accepted the VOPS240 form as the written instruction.
(In a case involving set off there is a referral to DMB via TRUCE workbench when the repayment return has been approved. If reasonable enquiries have been made then the clock will have stopped and re-started on completion of those enquiries. The clock will continue to run while DMB process and ‘authorise’ set-off and any balancing payment. The notification/authorisation issued by DMB (ledger entry that states ‘TRANS OUT CREDIT’) is the required written instruction directing the making of the payment.)