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vat inspection sage drop box request

Is it normal for a vat inspection to ask for in advance copies of the sage back up for 4 years

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a client has been told of a vat inspection.  The vat office has requested a backup of the last 4 years accounts, prior to the visit.  Is this normal, any suggestions please

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
27th Apr 2017 09:22

I would not supply software it gives far too much scope

Ask for specifics, and supply in printed form only.

This makes it much tougher to find problems and patterns.

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By lionofludesch
27th Apr 2017 10:29

Won't be long before that plan's redundant.

MTD will bring an end to all this record requesting business.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
27th Apr 2017 13:47

Indeed, which given governments huge powers for snooping on mere suspicion of wrong doing means presumably open door access by HMRC to cloud records. For that reason alone, a good reason not to do it.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By daveforbes
28th Apr 2017 07:36

Under mtd the hmrc will not get open door access to cloud records, in fact there is no requirement to use cloud software, just to keep records electronically. In an investigation the hmrc will be able to request/demand the equivalent of the sage backups, which they will analyse by computer. There will be no change in the criteria for launching an investigation but will make them more efficient (from their point of view). As stated above, the fact you can currently frustrate an investigation by supplying the electronic records on paper is probably one of the reasons mtd is coming.

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27th Apr 2017 12:37

A couple of months ago one of our clients had a VAT inspection that consisted of HMRC going through the Sage backup and asking questions and a few copy documents based on that. There was no visit to the client's premises.

About five years ago a different client had a VAT visit where I was present and a very helpful inspector told me how he had been involved in a project by HMRC that developed a program to extract data from Sage and other packages. He used this on the clients premises and then targeted his questions based on the result.

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By the_fishmonger
27th Apr 2017 14:56

One of our clients had a letter notifying of a visit and 'forgot' to inform us of it. The HMRC chap duly asked for the backups, took them off on a memory stick and shoved it through the HMRC thresher.

The result was many questions to which answers were easily provided, but that required a huge amount of time to go through line by line. Other conjecturings by their software were rebuffed swiftly and all in all, a huge waste of everyone's time.

Had the client followed our (explained many times) procedure and got me in asap, HMRC chappy would've been asked what he required and given it in hardcopy or pdf to follow.

When will clients ever learn - you have an agent as your buffer, use them before HMRC ensure you lose them!

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