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Client with VAT inspection, I am not VAT agent, can I attend?

Client with VAT inspection, I am not VAT agent,...

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Client had a large repayment claim and is now subject to a VAT inspection.  I am agent for individual directors, previous partnership and for corporation tax but not for VAT.

Client is a company of builders, genuine people but not the sharpest tools in the box.  That said, they had precise records for all VAT returns when I reviewed the VAT as part of the annual accounts.  Engagement letter says I will tell them of any errors I see in the course of other work but that I will not do a review of VAT.

Anyway, they emailed me and said they have a visit on Monday due to the large repayment claim.  I am not their VAT agent but would like to attend the meeting as they are the sort that could potentially drop themselves in it unwittingly and give the impression they are less organised than they actually are.  I do not expect for there to be any significant errors in the return, and they have asked me to look through it before then.

As long as I am there with them and they give their permission, I assume that I can speak on their behalf?  Any advice please?  I have not dealt with VAT inspections before, just SA ones.

Thanks

Replies (6)

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chips_at_mattersey
By Les Howard
22nd Jan 2014 09:30

VAT inspection

The Client can have anyone present at the meeting with HMRC. They should make it clear that you are acting on their behalf, and that you can answer questions about the business, record keeping, etc.

(I would be very surprised if the HMRC Officer objects to this.)

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By Old Greying Accountant
22nd Jan 2014 10:02

You could always ....

... take a 64-8 with you and if they cut up get client to sign, you can always ask for it back and tear it up after the meeting!

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By shaun king
22nd Jan 2014 11:02

VAT inspection

I agree with Les and the visit will be very quick if they are only verifying a repayment claim as long as you have all in the information to hand. Quickest I have had is 5 minutes as everyyting was available to inspect as well as reasons for the repayment.

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Giraffe
By Luke
22nd Jan 2014 11:45

5 minutes - wow!

I would love a five minute visit!

My experience previously is that they ask for the three largest invoices for a big VAT reclaim but this has been done by email or letter, I have not seen a visit from it. 

Apparently it is a construction VAT specialist that is coming.  My plan is to got through the last two VAT returns this weekend and check (and organise) all the evidence, then at least it will look neat and organised to the Inspector and if there are any errors we will be forewarned and can put hands up. I don't expect to find anything significant, they have just done a very large zero rated job and are now reclaiming VAT on the materials used in it.  The reclaim is for £27,000 and I wonder if there is a cut-off where it automatically triggers a visit.

My thought was to take a 64-8 with me and get them to sign on the spot should they need it!

Thanks to all for your help.

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By shaun king
22nd Jan 2014 11:53

no cut off

It is all based on risk assessment and computer generated but any significant reclaim outside of the norm can trigger a query. Looks like they need reassuring project was Zero rated.

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Giraffe
By Luke
22nd Jan 2014 12:04

Thanks Shaun

I have actually visited the site in question (purely to collect some records) and most of it was construction of new houses, which qualifies as zero rated.  Part of it, however, was conversion of an existing building into a residential dwelling, which at initial glance should be 5%  - I do hope they have apportioned correctly... 

I will find out when I see them on Friday. 

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