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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Introduction to assurance: principal place of business (PPOB) and place to visit

Work Allocation Officers (WAOs) will give reasonable notice prior to a visit and will specify the particular records that visiting officers wish to see.

There is no objection to an accountant being present during an official visit to his client.

It is recommended that the books and records should be produced at the Principal Place of Business (PPOB), if a visit is to be made to the trader. This is also most important for a first visit.

The PPOB is defined as the place where orders are normally received and dealt with, and from which the day-to-day affairs of the business are conducted. An inspection of the premises is obviously useful for identifying risk areas or subsidiary activities.

In most cases the WAO will endeavour to arrange visits to take place at the PPOB. If this is not possible, for example if the trader works from home and all VAT records are completed by their accountant, they will adopt a flexible approach and book the visit at the accountant’s premises at the trader’s request. However the WAO will inform the trader that we reserve the right to visit the PPOB if circumstances dictate. In any event, the WAO will request that the responsible person be present at the visit for the purposes of interview.

If it is found that the PPOB is not as previously known or notified, arrangements should be made for a variation of the registered address to be notified by VAT 12. You must obtain written confirmation of the change.

Details of officers’ powers to inspect business premises and require production of records can be found in the Compliance handbook at CH250000 and CH220000.

Where businesses activities are spread over a number of locations, there may be sound revenue reasons for arranging occasional visits, on a scheme of control to all business premises.