HMRC visits numerous UK businesses annually to ensure they are fulfilling their VAT obligations. These VAT visits not only disrupt your business activities but are also quite stressful.
HMRC is equipped with efficient systems that trace your tax returns, including VAT. You may think your tax returns are error-free, but even a slight issue can trigger a VAT visit from HMRC. These visits are inevitable, so it’s best to prepare in advance with the following tips.
VAT Health Check
While most times HMRC informs in advance about their visit, sometimes they visit without an appointment. Regular VAT health checks from your tax advisors will ensure that everything is in order and you don’t have to stress about the HMRC visit at the last moment. Doing this will let you know any potential problems with your accounts and make timely changes to keep your VAT accounting as accurate as possible.
Most companies perform a VAT health check at the last moment and miss out on many things that HMRC detects. While reviewing your VAT in advance wouldn’t ensure a 100% error-free account, you’ll have the peace of mind that you did everything on your end.
Keep All Your Records Ready
Make sure all your business records for the past four years are ready during the VAT visit because HMRC has the right to review them to correct errors. Although they don’t always ask for older records, having them ready can save you from last-minute problems.
Ensure the Relevant Personnel Are Available During VAT Visit
Besides reviewing your business records, HMRC might want to speak with your business director or the people who prepared VAT returns. Clear their schedules for that day and keep them available during the visit. Also, prepare them to explain your company’s process of preparing VAT returns to avoid mistakes.
Refrain from Answering Questions That You Don’t Know About
HMRC officers will ask numerous questions during the visit, and you may not know the accurate answers to all of them. To avoid problems, inform your officer that you’re not sure about the answer, and you’ll let them know soon. This saves you from giving inaccurate answers and creating more problems for your company.
Don’t Get on the Wrong Side of the HMRC Officers
You might be under a lot of pressure during the visit, and their questions further aggravate it. Make sure you don’t lose your cool and be nice to the officers; otherwise, you invite them for more investigation. Any suspicious or bad behaviour will tempt the officers to be less lenient and look for deeper issues.
Keep everything professional, answer them politely with precise and accurate information, and offer good hospitality to ensure everything goes smoothly.
When you have professional tax advisors and consultants on board, there are fewer chances of VAT errors or inspection visits. At IBISS & CO.,we offer self-assessment & tax return consulting services for small businesses in London and Walsall. You can hire our talented tax specialists to keep your returns error-free. Contact us to get started.