VAT Checklist | Our Top Four Tips

Do you know everything you need to know about VAT

As part of your business planning for 2020, we’ve picked the brain of our VAT expert, Michele Harris, who gives her top four tips when it comes to correctly planning for the all-important, yet somewhat complicated tax.


  1. Brexit

In the lead-up to Brexit, HMRC has been very busy lending staff to the Border Agency and other organisations, but they have also been hiring. So, once Brexit is dealt with and everyone is back where they belong, VAT visits may well become more frequent than they have been over the past couple of years.

Are you confident that your company has correctly implemented the many changes in recent VAT law? There may be more changes to come over the next 12 months with the UK being released from the requirements of EU law.

It’s not just Brexit though. There are a number of changes coming. Take the whole building industry. Everyone, from multinational companies down to subcontractors need to financially prepare for the cash flow issues that the ‘VAT reverse charge’ will undoubtedly bring. Have you prepared for this?

  1. Get A VAT Health Check

Your business could benefit from a health check if there is some element of complication to your records.

  • Do you export and are you aware of the evidence required by HMRC?
  • Do you sell a mixture of exempt supplies and VATable supplies and do you know what VAT to reclaim and what you can’t claim?
  • Are you aware of what business expenses you can claim back, and which expenses are never allowed, under any circumstances?

A client recently had an issue with the VAT man because they had claimed back almost £7,000 VAT in one quarter which related to an exempt sale. This is not allowed but resulted in no assessment due to Michele’s interventions during a VAT health check.

The possibility of VAT anomalies are endless and a health check will ensure you are on the right path. Contact our team today to start your VAT health check.

  1. Don’t Be A VAT Fraudster

Few people set out to deliberately con the taxman out of money. Of course, there is a minority who will make this their career aim, but for the rest of us, it’s more likely to come from being careless.


HMRC won’t always be understanding if you fail to comply with the rules and they are not slow at issuing fines, sometimes very hefty fines. These penalties exist to try to encourage businesses to follow the law but if you are unsure about something, get professional advice. It could avoid a costly bill.

  1. File On Time

Make sure you know when your deadlines are for filing your returns. You can check by logging on to your account where you can find out when your returns are due and when payment must clear HMRC’s account.

These two dates are generally the same and fall one calendar month and seven days after the end of an accounting period. If you use the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme, the deadlines will be different. Failure to meet the deadline will result in a surcharge.

If you’re concerned about meeting HMRC’s deadline, contact Michele at our Hitchin office today.

Unsure On Your Next Step?

From complex International VAT matters to registration, our in-house VAT specialist Michele has proven her extensive knowledge in HMRC’s strict procedures. Uncover opportunities when preparing your next VAT submission by contacting Michele today.