Receiving a visit from a VAT officer

VAT Question

My client was the subject of a VAT visit and during the visit the VAT officer advised that he was going to uplift my client’s records and accounts and take them away with him, which he did and provided my client with a receipt for the records. Does the officer have the legal right to do this?

VAT Answer

Yes, the officer does have this right.

Section 16 of Schedule 36 of the Finance Act 2008 allows an Officer of HMRC to remove records that have been provided to him if he considers it necessary to do so.

There are several reasons that the officer may consider this action necessary. It could simply be that there are so many records that require his attention that the time allocated to him during his visit is simply not sufficient for him to carry out the checks he considers necessary OR, at the other end of the scale, his initial checks may have raised considerable concerns about the validity of the records or the business that he considers it necessary to take the records away with him to protect what could be evidence of fraud.

Whatever the reason for taking the records the officer must issue an official receipt which should be completed with the taxpayer’s details, should list all the records he has taken and should provide the officers full contact details, including his name, office address and contact telephone number.

Tony Pocock, Vantage Fee Protect VAT Consultant

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