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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Introduction to assurance: VAT quality event standards and measures

The concept of quality is an essential part of our VAT Compliance activity. We can monitor tangibles, such as numbers of events and net additional liability, however these indicators do not reflect the quality of visits. The VAT Quality Event Standards and Measures documents were launched in 2004 and updated in 2006. They assist both assurance officers and their managers in ensuring that assurance events are being conducted to an acceptable standard.

VAT Compliance officers are expected to:

  • address the risks identified by the Risk Team and themselves before and during the event;
  • discuss and actively encourage payment of outstanding tax and submission of outstanding returns;
  • provide advice, education and support to ensure that any errors are not repeated and to improve future compliance;
  • evaluate the overall credibility of the business and the declarations made;
  • consider interventions to prevent further losses where potential fraud or deliberate non-compliance has been identified;
  • display a professional approach before, during and after the event;
  • apply the Systematic Approach (PERCET) properly;
  • observe Minimum Information Requirements (MIR) at every contact with traders;
  • maintain EF completion standards;
  • refer to the law (rather than to explanatory notices) particularly in correspondence;
  • issue references regularly for other traders as appropriate, as part of the overall assurance effort;
  • ensure constructive feedback to a required standard is provided from audits to Risk teams;
  • enter a complete audit trail on the report of any assessment raised, and any subsequent reduction, showing when, why and by how much, with cross references to correspondence;
  • provide ideas for sifts, and feedback on sifts, regularly to aid the process; and
  • action case work promptly.
  • Establish and discuss trader behaviour with Authorising Officer, see CH261000.