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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Post audit action: communication of decisions to traders: introduction

Whilst at the trader’s premises, clarify errors, answer queries and resolve technical issues with the trader, drawing on your own experience and available resources and guidance. Take the time to explain the reasons for an assessment, indicating where possible any reference to the law, and how they could be prevented in the future.

Confirm these in writing if the basis of the errors is complex or contentious, prior to raising an assessment, with detailed letters and schedules. Ensure that the trader has sufficient time to respond, usually 21 days, as this will reduce the likelihood of a request for reconsideration. Further details on pre-assessment letters can be found in VAEC - VAT Assessment and Error Correction.

Pre assessment letters are not required in all circumstances. If, for example, the assessment has been agreed with the trader, the intended assessment is about to run out of time, or if it is straightforward, the letter may delay matters or be unnecessary.

However, a letter and schedule of assessment must always be issued with an assessment and captured to EF. Discuss with the trader their ability to pay any assessment, and where this is in doubt, provide details of the DMU who may be able to consider payment options. Advise DMU accordingly.

Please refer to ARTG - Appeals, Reviews and Tribunals Guidance in the event that the trader disputes liability.