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HMRC internal manual

VAT Retail schemes guidance

Mail order traders: Agents’ own purchases (AOP): Definition of AOPs

There is no legal definition of an AOP, but we have accepted that these are purchases made by an agent for his or her personal use, including goods purchased for use as gifts. As you cannot always know when an agent buys goods on another person’s behalf, you should accept purchases shown as agents’ personal purchases provided there is no evidence to the contrary. Do not accept a supply as an AOP where the order form or payment record is related to any account other than the agent’s personal account. There is a risk, for example, that all deliveries to the agent’s family or address will be wrongly treated as the agent’s personal purchases. Check that instructions issued to agents about their personal purchases are adequate for revenue purposes. You may need to make a judgement as to whether the overall proportion of sales that the business claims to be agents’ own purchases seems reasonable. Consultation with the Retail UoE may be of benefit if there is doubt in this area.