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HMRC internal manual

VAT Retail schemes guidance

Point of sale (POS) schemes: Background to electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems

EPOS (electronic point of sale) systems were developed primarily to aid stock control; but, in conjunction with electronic tills, many other functions have since been bolted on to the original systems to meet developing commercial needs. These include market information such as fast and slow moving lines, tracking promotions and building customer profiles.

To date, the impact of such systems in retail scheme terms has mainly been on the calculation and recording of takings. A number of retailers who have EPOS systems have resisted their use in terms of VAT accounting on the basis that the systems lacked accuracy. HMRC’s knowledge of EPOS and associated systems has not been adequate to refute such contentions and, as a result, retail schemes that produce considerably lower revenue results have been used.

Our aim is that most large retailers should migrate in due course to EPOS-based accounting for their retail output tax, using either normal accounting or the point of sale retail scheme: this section addresses some of the issues involved in achieving that aim.