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HMRC internal manual

VAT Transfer of a going concern

HM Revenue & Customs
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What is the transfer of a going concern?: dealing with enquiries from businesses and advisers

Guidance on dealing with requests for VAT rulings including those for rulings regardingtransfers of business may be found in Notice 700/6 VAT Rulings.

As VAT is a self assessed tax, it is a matter for the seller whether VAT should becharged. If you receive enquiries from the purchaser you should not give a ruling withoutthe prior agreement of the HMRC team responsible for the assurance of the seller’sbusiness. It may be that a ruling may already have been given, or that the facts presentedto you differ from their understanding of the transaction. Also, they will have access toinformation from the seller, which may not be available to you. Clearly it is important toensure consistency of treatment.

When giving advice or a decision, you should make sure, as far as you are able, thatyou are in full possession of the facts of the case. If a tax adviser writes on behalf ofa client, enclosing copy contracts, and simply asks for whether the transaction is a TOGC,you should ask them to specify what aspects of the arrangements give rise to their doubtsas it is not our policy to routinely “vet” contracts. If they have a particularquery, this can be addressed much more easily once it has been identified.

A seller of a property may inquire whether the purchaser has opted to tax the propertyso that he may determine whether the transaction is a supply for VAT purposes andsimilarly the purchaser may wish to know if the seller has opted. This should be normallydealt with between the two parties as the Department cannot release confidentialinformation about another business’s tax affairs without his express permission.