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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Introduction to assurance: information provided during a visit

At the end of a visit, the officer should always review the work done and discuss any findings with the trader, such as sole proprietor, partner or director. This is not only a professional approach, but can ensure that potentially costly disagreements are avoided.

However, it is not always practical or possible for the trader to be present during, or at the end of a visit. Therefore, the discussion and review of the work done may be discussed with the business representative for example, financial controller, book-keeper or external accountant.

Officers are reminded that if they are not satisfied that the accountant is bona fide, they should ask for the form 64-8 ‘Authorising your Agent’ to be completed by the trader. Care must be taken to ensure that no inadvertent disclosure of confidential information is made to anyone that we do not have the traders consent to disclose to.

The trader (not just the representative) must be notified in writing of any rulings or assessments raised. The discussion should;

  • review any agreements, rulings or recommendations;
  • detail any errors found;
  • illustrate as accurately as possible, the size and the reason for any assessment. Where the assessment contains information provided by third parties, details of the source can be disclosed, but you should take care to only disclose the minimum information necessary to ensure the trader is fully aware of the reasons for the assessment;
  • invite the business to raise any outstanding queries; and
  • if no anomalies are found, the officer should make it clear that any conclusion was made on the basis of the records that had been examined.