|HMRC Reference:Notice 700/45 (October 2012)||View Change History|
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 700/45 (July 2010).
This notice explains how to:
If you find an error in accounting for VAT that is not covered by this notice, you should contact the VAT Helpline on Tel 0845 010 9000.
VAT errors can prove costly to you and to us. Failure to correct errors can result in a penalty and interest. For more on this see section 4.
Reading this notice can help you avoid errors. This notice explains how you can correct them if they do occur.
Where you find that your VAT records contain errors, you will need to correct them. Paragraph 2.2 explains how you can do that.
If that advice does not fit your particular circumstances, you may need further help from our VAT Helpline or you may wish to consult your own tax adviser.
Where an error has led to a misdeclaration on a VAT return you’ve already sent to us, you can correct the error by following the advice in section 4.
If you deliberately fail to correct an underdeclaration of VAT, you may be liable to a penalty or even criminal prosecution.
If you discover you’ve recorded an entry in your business records incorrectly and
You’ve not yet completed your VAT account or return for the period in which you made the error
You can correct the error by amending your records. Simply keep a clear note to show the reason for the error, and include the correct VAT figure in your VAT account for the same period. The correct VAT figure will then work its way through to your VAT return, as normal.
You’ve already sent us your return
You will need to correct the error by following the procedures in section 4.
This section does not apply where there’s been a change in the consideration for the supply, that is, if the price has changed and consequently the amount of VAT.
If the wrong amount of VAT was shown on an invoice, this section explains how you can correct it.
For example, where you have:
If the amount shown on the invoice you issued was
Then you must
Account for the higher amount in your records.
Account for the amount you should have charged.
If the amount of VAT shown on an invoice you received is …
Then you must …
Go back to your supplier for a replacement invoice reducing the amount of VAT charged.
Go back to your supplier for a replacement invoice increasing the amount of VAT charged.
There are two methods for correcting errors:
See paragraph 4.6 and 4.7 for further details on time limits and the transitional period extending the time limits from three to four years.
You can use this method to adjust your VAT account and include the value of that adjustment on your current VAT return providing:
To work out the net value of VAT errors on previous returns, you should work out:
If the difference between the two figures is greater than £10,000 and exceeds 1% of the box 6 (net outputs) VAT return declaration due for the current return period during which the error is discovered, you must use Method 2. You must always use Method 2 if the net errors exceed £50,000 or if the errors made on previous returns were made deliberately.
Correcting errors using Method 1 is not a disclosure for the purposes of the new penalties rules described at paragraph 4.1 above. If you consider that the error corrected using Method 1 was a result of careless conduct you will not be able to gain the maximum reduction of the penalty unless you also notify us separately in writing, either by letter or by completion of the form VAT652, of both:
This will be an unprompted or prompted disclosure depending on the circumstances.
You must use this method if:
You may, if you wish, use this method for errors of any size which are below the limits at paragraph 4.3 above instead of a Method 1 error correction. If you use this method you must not make adjustment for the same errors on a later VAT return.
When notifying HMRC of an error correction you should use form VAT 652. This can be printed from our website at hmrc.gov.uk or your can request a form by contacting the VAT Helpline on Tel 0845 010 9000.
If you are unable to obtain a form you should, by reference to business records in your possession, write to the appropriate office at paragraph 4.11 and provide full details of the errors including:
If the error was an amount underdeclared please include sufficient detail about the error on a separate sheet if necessary, to enable us to decide whether we should charge interest. You can find further information about interest in Notice 700/43 Default interest.
If the net value of errors
do not exceed £10,000 or are between £10,000 and £50,000 but do not exceed 1% of the box 6 (net outputs) VAT return declaration due for the current return period during which the errors are discovered, you can use Method 1 or 2.
If they are between £10,000 and £50,000 and exceed 1% of the box 6 (net outputs) VAT return declaration due for the current period during which the errors are discovered, or are greater than £50,000 you must use Method 2.
If the errors on previous returns were made deliberately you must use Method 2.
You cannot adjust your VAT return, or make an error correction notification, for any errors that arose in accounting periods that are outside the time limits at paragraphs 4.6.1 and 4.7, unless the errors are tax point errors, that is, where you’ve declared an amount of VAT on the return that immediately precedes or follows the return for which the amount was due.
The time limit for adjusting returns and correcting errors, including making claims, was increased with effect from 1 April 2009 from three years to four. However, in order to make sure that accounting periods that were out-of-time on 31 March 2009 are not brought back in-time by the change, transitional arrangements have been put in place.
The transitional arrangements provide that no adjustment or error correction notification made between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 can be made for any accounting period ending before 1 April 2006.
For instance, on 31 March 2009 the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made for a refund of overdeclared output tax under section 80(1) Value Added Tax Act 1994 is the accounting period ending on 31 March 2006 (the old three year rule).
On 30 April 2009, the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made under section 80(1) would be that ending on 30 April 2006.
Similarly, on 31 October 2009 the earliest accounting period that can be claimed for will also be that ending on 30 April 2006.
However, by 30 April 2010, the four-year time limit will have come fully into effect so that a claim made on that date can still go back to a quarter ending on 30 April 2006.
For non-standard tax periods, return adjustments and error correction notifications made between 1 April 2009 and 1 April 2010 can be made for any accounting period ending on or after 1 April 2006. Adjustment thereafter will be subject to a four-year limit.
The time limit for making claims was increased with effect from 1 April 2009 from three years to four. However, in order to make sure that the accounting periods that were out-of-time on 31 March 2009 are not brought back in-time by the change, the following transitional arrangements apply.
The transitional arrangements provide that no claim made between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 can be made for any accounting period for which the VAT return was due before 1 April 2006.
Thus, on 31 March 2009, the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made is that ending on 28 February 2006 (for which the due date of the return was 31 March 2006).
On 30 April 2009, the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made under regulation 29 would be that ending on 31 March 2006 (the due date of the return for the period being 30 April 2006).
Similarly, on 31 October 2009, the earliest accounting period that can be claimed for will also be that ending on 31 March 2006. However, by 30 April 2010, the four-year time limit will have come fully into effect so that a claim made on that date can go back to the quarter ending 31 March 2006.
If we find underdeclarations of VAT on your returns, we will assess for the tax due and may charge interest. You may also face a misdeclaration penalty. To avoid a penalty, you must disclose full details of the mistakes before we begin to make enquiries into your VAT affairs.
Enquiries normally begin when we make an appointment to inspect your records. But we will accept disclosures for penalty purposes after this point, unless we have reason to believe that:
You should make an error correction by following the procedures at paragraph 4.3 to 4.5. If, however, you deliberately fail to correct an underdeclaration of VAT, you may be liable to a civil penalty for dishonest evasion or even criminal prosecution.
You can find further information in:
If we find underdeclarations of VAT on your VAT returns, we will assess for the tax due and may charge interest. You may also be liable to a penalty.
You should make an error correction by following the procedures at paragraphs 4.3 to 4.6.
Please see paragraph 4.1 for more information in relation to error correction and the Penalties for Errors regime.
There may be occasions when large output and input tax errors have a nil or minimal effect on the net VAT due on returns. If the net value of errors you’ve found on previous VAT returns is within the limit described in paragraph 4.2, you can choose either Method 1 or 2 (described in paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4) to correct the errors. In order for us to consider any reduction to a penalty, you should tell us if you have made a careless error or deliberate inaccuracy in individual VAT return declarations understating liability to pay VAT, or overstating entitlement to a VAT credit, regardless of its size or value.
Provided they are accurate and made at the right time, adjustments that you are required to make as part of the normal operation of VAT accounting are not errors.
These accounting adjustments include:
If the original accounting adjustment was incorrect, or made at the wrong time, error corrections should be made in the normal way.
Separate notification of error corrections should include the person’s VAT registration number and be sent to the VAT Error Correction Team (VATECT) office below.
VAT Error Correction Team
HM Revenue & Customs
3rd Floor, Regian House
Phone: 0845 601 0904
As soon as you find an error, you should record it in your VAT records for correction or you could become liable to a penalty.
You may find it useful to keep a separate record in your current VAT account that you can update as errors are discovered. You should:
At the end of your current VAT period, the record will help you decide whether Method 1 or Method 2 is the appropriate method to use when correcting errors.
You should normally wait until the end of the current accounting period before deciding whether Method 1 or Method 2 applies.
However, if an individual error is so large that the 1% box 6 test, or £50,000 limit, referred to in paragraph 4.4 will inevitably be breached, you should make an error correction report to HMRC using Method 2 immediately.
Where you have accounted for an amount of output tax that wasn’t due, depending on the amount, you can either adjust your return for the period in which you discover the overdeclaration or you should claim a refund by making an error correction notification. Section 4 tells you which method you should use. You should correct all other known errors at the same time, provided they fall within the time limits explained at paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7.
We won’t pay a claim which would result in your unjust enrichment - for example, where:
You can find further information about unjust enrichment and the arrangements for reimbursing customers in section 9.
If you aren’t sure if you are entitled to claim, you should ask your VAT Business Centre or the VAT Helpline for advice.
The time limit described in paragraph 4.7 for deducting input tax starts to run from the due date for the return that you are liable to make after you have both incurred the input tax and received the associated VAT invoice.
In practice, most traders will deduct any input tax they are entitled to on the next VAT return after they have received the invoice from their supplier.
If you had the necessary evidence to enable you to claim the input tax in the VAT accounting period in which it became chargeable, but did not record it in your VAT account, this is an error. You cannot claim it on a later return. You may be required to make a return adjustment under paragraph 4.3 or an error correction notification under paragraph 4.4.
Should you wish to make a claim for input tax you must do so within the time limits described at paragraph 4.7.
Each error notification is subject to checks to protect both the revenue and the interests of taxpayers generally.
We may sometimes need to contact you to clarify the details of your notification before we process it. In some cases it may also be necessary to visit you to verify it, usually at a mutually convenient date and time. Our officers will try to deal with any queries as swiftly as possible.
Once we have processed your Error Correction, we will send you a Notice of Error Correction confirming the amount of your Error Correction and any interest calculated on it. You will also get a Statement of Account showing the current balance payable to us (including any interest) or repayable to you.
If your correction generated a repayment that is subject to the unjust enrichment provisions detailed in section 9 we won’t send you these documents, but we will notify you separately by letter.
If you don’t hear from us within 21 days, please contact your VAT Error Correction Team to make sure they’ve received your error correction notification.
If we’ve notified you in line with paragraph 7.2 and the Statement of Account shows a balance payable to us, you should send full payment as soon as possible to:
HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Central Unit
21 Victoria Avenue
We may charge further interest if you don’t pay the VAT in full within 30 days from the calculation date shown on the Notice of Error Correction.
You can pay electronically by:
You can ask our Helpline for details of these payment methods.
If you pay by Bacs or CHAPS your bank will need to quote your VAT registration number as your reference and make payment to:
Sort Code: 08 32 00 Account No. 11963155
If you prefer, you can pay by cheque or postal order.
Please make cheques or postal orders payable to HM Revenue & Customs with a line through any spaces on the pay line. You should put your VAT registration number on the reverse of your cheque.
Please do not send post dated cheques.
In your own interest, do not send notes or coins through the post.
If the amount shown on your error correction notification leads to an amount repayable to you we will credit the amount due to your account and use it to reduce any outstanding balance to us. Additionally, where you are claiming output tax wrongly charged on supplies that have turned out to be exempt, any input tax that you deducted in relation to those supplies will be set against the amount claimed.
If, following this, money is still due to you, we will repay the remainder either by Bacs or Payable Order.
Where we have given you a decision or ruling concerning your VAT liabilities we will normally reject any claim from you which challenges our decision or ruling.
If your claim is formally rejected you will be invited to apply for a review of our decision. You have 30 days in which to accept this offer.
If you do not want a review, or if you do not agree with the result of the review, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal to decide the matter.
If you appeal you will preserve your entitlement to a refund, but only if you have made a valid claim, should our decision be overruled. If however you decide not to appeal to the tribunal then any future claims will be considered to be new claims, whether made on the same basis or not, and will be subject to the normal time limits as detailed in paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7.
There is more information about what you can do if you disagree with our decision in a HMRC fact sheet and customer guidance which can be found at:
This section only applies to claims made on or after 26 May 2005 claiming a refund or credit of overdeclared output tax. The unjust enrichment provisions for claims made before that date are not included in this Notice but are covered by Revenue & Customs Brief 05/09 which can be found at:
We will refuse claims for unjust enrichment where a trader:
We may invoke the defence of unjust enrichment in circumstances where you make a claim for a credit of VAT relating to output tax accounted for in error.
Unjust enrichment can be applied in respect of the full amount of output tax that you have overcharged and accounted for in error. However, HMRC will only pay you what is left after all outstanding liabilities have been taken into account. For example, where you are claiming output tax wrongly charged on supplies that have turned out to be exempt, any input tax that you deducted in relation to those supplies may be set against the amount claimed.
Unjust enrichment can also be applied to only part of a claim. In certain cases you may have passed on only part of the VAT charged in error to your customer because you chose to absorb the costs to some of the mistaken charge in order to remain competitive.
Under these arrangements you can obtain a refund of VAT you accounted for in error (which your business customers or non-VAT registered customers paid to you), and avoid being unjustly enriched by passing it back to the people who bore the burden of the mistaken charge to VAT. However, you can only do so if you agree to use the reimbursement scheme (‘the scheme’).
If you agree that repayment would unjustly enrich you but you do not wish, or are unable, to refund any money to your customers you cannot obtain a refund from us.
The reimbursement scheme applies where you accept, or we prove, that by receiving a refund of sums wrongly accounted for as output tax your business would be unjustly enriched at your customers’ expense and you wish to refund (to those customers who bore the burden of the mistaken charge to VAT) the money they overpaid. If your customer was able to deduct all your mistaken VAT charge as input tax we will not regard them as having borne the burden of the charge.
In such cases we will only make a refund of overpaid VAT if you agree to reimburse those customers in accordance with the terms of the scheme.
All businesses currently registered for VAT who wish to refund to their past customers any money they overpaid as VAT can use the scheme.
You can also use the scheme if you are no longer registered for VAT - you will be subject to the same terms and conditions as VAT registered businesses.
The existence of the scheme does not affect your right to claim that you wouldn’t be unjustly enriched.
If we reject your claim on the grounds of unjust enrichment, you still have the right of appeal.
If the Tribunal finds in our favour you can still use the scheme if you wish.
Under the reimbursement scheme we will only make a refund to you if you agree to:
You must keep the following records:
Your customers - called ‘Consumers’ in the regulations - include everyone to whom you have made sales, whether they are registered for VAT or not.
You should have the scheme ready to implement as soon as we receive your signed undertaking and begin contacting customers straight away.
A late start to refunding the money without good cause won’t be seen as a valid reason for extending the 90 day refund limit.
We will pay any statutory interest claim, where the sums being reimbursed were wrongly accounted for because of our error. Any statutory interest paid under this scheme is subject to the same terms and conditions as any other money returned under the schemes and you must refund it to your customers. This is because it is the customers who were deprived of the use of the money, not you (as the claimant) who collected it from them to pay to us.
You must refund any statutory interest in full. You must return any residue (any amounts that you have been unable to refund) to us within the specified time limit of 14 days.
If you are having difficulty working out how much interest is due to your customers, your local VAT Business Advice Centre will be happy to provide a printout of the statutory interest calculation. This will show interest on a period-by-period basis. You will then be able to divide interest payable for a particular period into the amount overpaid for the same period. This should determine approximately what’s due to your customers for a particular period.
To make sure that you are refunding your customers in the agreed manner, we may ask to see your scheme records. We will give you written notice of our intention to see these records.
You must not take out of the refund any costs you incur in administering the scheme. If you do, we will assess you.
In relation to a claim for £ [insert amount] made on [insert date] relating to prescribed accounting period(s) [insert accounting period(s)] made under section 80 VAT A 1994. In accordance with the terms of section 80A VATA 1994 and regulations 43A to 43G of the Value Added Tax Act Regulations 1995, Part VA Reimbursement Arrangements (Statutory Instrument 1995/2518), I agree to comply with the following reimbursement arrangements.
'I, the undersigned, can identify the names and addresses of consumers whom I intend to reimburse. I will reimburse those persons, in cash or by cheque, all of the amount credited by HM Revenue & Customs under section 80(1) or 80(1A) of the VAT Act 1994, together with any associated interest, without any deduction, for whatever purpose, within 90 days of receiving the credit and I understand that I cannot use the credit for any other purpose. Furthermore, where some or all of the credited amount to be reimbursed has been paid or repaid to me and I have not reimbursed some or all of it to consumers, I will, without reminder, notify HM Revenue & Customs and return the balance together with any associated interest to HM Revenue & Customs within 14 days of the 90 days expiring. Where the credited amount has not been paid or repaid to me, and I have not reimbursed some or all of it to consumers, I will notify HM Revenue & Customs of that amount of credit and associated interest I have not reimbursed to consumers within 14 days of the 90 days expiring. I will keep the necessary records as set out in the Regulations and I will comply with any notice given to me by HM Revenue & Customs about producing the records I am required to keep.'
Position in business…………………………………………………………………………...
VAT Registration Number……………………………………………………………………
Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we can expect from you. For more information go to Your Charter.
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue & Customs
Tax Administration Advice
8th Floor, Imperial Court
2-24 Exchange Street East
Liverpool L2 3PQ
Please note this address is not for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please phone our Helpline 0845 010 9000.
If you are unhappy with our service, please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They will try to put things right. If you are still unhappy, they will tell you how to complain.
If you want to know more about making a complaint go to hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links, select Complaints and appeals.
HMRC is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them.
We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do, it will only be as the law permits to:
We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. We will not give information to anyone outside HMRC unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to hmrc.gov.uk and look for Data Protection Act within the Search facility.
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