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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Checks on zero rating and outside the scope for outputs: input tax on imports

The monthly import VAT certificate system was introduced in November 1990. The certificate (Form C79) forms the normal input tax evidence for importations made from 1 October 1990. You may find information about the monthly VAT certificate system, and transactions that require exceptional treatment in VAT Imports.

Traders authorised to use the Period Entry (Imports) scheme (PE (1)) are not issued with monthly VAT certificates. Instead the normal input tax evidence is schedule PE33. Local excise officers have been directed to advise LVOs of traders operating PE (1).

When checking input tax evidence you should bear in mind the possibility that the documents may have been altered, or forged, to support a false claim. Although import VAT certificates have been designed to minimise the risk of forgery, the possibility of amendment or outright forgery should not be discounted. If you have reason to believe a monthly certificate is suspect, you may obtain a copy of the original by writing to the banking Microfilm Unit in Southend

You should allow traders who cannot produce evidence to support claims for input tax deduction two months to produce relevant documents, if other material indicates that the claim is genuine, provided this does not compromise assessment time limits.

Be aware that VAT accounted for on import VAT certificates may include non-deductible input tax (for example on second-hand cars, and private importation by traders).