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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Post Audit Action: report on Audit

  • by a line manager;
  • in the event of an appeals procedure;
  • in the event of a fraud investigation;
  • during sift;
  • when preparing for subsequent audits;
  • by the Audit Service;
  • by the IAD or NAO; and
  • by the trader, on reasonable request.

Occasionally Policy and/or other agencies may require sight of the EF audit report, for example, in connection with VAT appeals. The entire contents of a folder may have to be produced in legal proceedings. Under the Data Protection Act, a trader may submit a subject access request, asking for the information we hold about him. It is therefore important that reports are both clear and concise and that EF is properly maintained. It is also important that an indication has been given of the next visit date based on risk.

Expressions which may be construed as personal remarks or personal opinions concerning traders should be avoided.

Either during, or as soon as possible after an event the officer should complete the Audit report on EF. The report should clearly show which period(s) were examined and the extent of the check(s) carried out, and should reflect the work actually done. To minimise disputes and allegations of misdirection by omission, be specific in describing checks carried out. Keep reports brief and to the point. Where detailed notes have been kept in working papers, they should be scanned to EF. Where detail is held in a notebook, the reference number and page of the notebook should be recorded on the report. Phrases such as “examined generally” should be avoided.

If action is incomplete, for example where a return visit is required, or there is discussion on the amount of an assessment, an interim report should be made. Information likely to be of assistance to the next officer should be recorded towards the end of the report.

Record any assistance given regarding future compliance including the:

  • flat rate scheme;
  • annual accounting scheme;
  • cash accounting scheme; and
  • the electronic payment and VAT returns options.

Where the place visited was difficult to find, directions for the benefit of future visiting officers should be given on the Contact Details screen within the EF Summary. Public transport routes or parking advice are also helpful. Warnings of potential hazards (for example guard dogs) should similarly be recorded within the Risk Profile.

Postal addresses, electronic addresses (web, e-mail, fax, mobile phone) should always be recorded on the Contact Details screen. This information can be expanded in the sections on the ‘Structure and Organisation of Business’ and ‘Special or unusual Features’ tabs within the EF Summary screen.