Joint and several liability for unpaid VAT

HMRC Reference:Notice 726 (March 2008) View Change History
 

Contents

Foreword

1. Introduction

1.1 What is this notice about?

1.2 What’s changed?

1.3 Who should read this notice?

1.4 What are the specified goods?

1.5 What law does this notice relate to?

2. About joint and several liability for VAT unpaid by another

2.1 What is joint and several liability for VAT unpaid by another?

2.2 What is “net tax”?

2.3 Why were these rules introduced?

2.4 How do I know whether these rules affect me?

2.5 How will HMRC establish “reasonable grounds to suspect”?

2.6 Presumption of “reasonable grounds to suspect”

2.7 What is the impact of the reverse charge?

3. Rebuttable presumptions

3.1 What are the “rebuttable presumptions”?

3.2 How am I to ascertain the lowest open market value of the goods or what price was paid for the goods by a previous supplier?

3.3 Why do these factors demonstrate reasonable grounds to suspect?

4. Applying joint and several liability for unpaid VAT of another

4.1 How will HMRC apply joint and several liability rules for VAT unpaid of another?

4.2 What is a notification letter?

4.3 What is a notice of liability?

4.4 How can I avoid being caught up in MTIC fraud?

4.5 What are “reasonable steps”?

4.6 Can HMRC tell me exactly what checks I should undertake?

4.7 What do I do if my checks indicate that a fraud exists?

4.8 How will HMRC establish the debt and demand the net tax due?

4.9 Are there any exceptions?

5. Appeal and reconsideration procedures

5.1 Independent Appeal

5.2 Is there anything else I can do?

5.3 Can I appeal after HMRC’s reconsideration?

5.4 Do I have to pay the demand before my appeal is heard?

6. Dealing with other businesses – How to ensure the integrity of your supply chain

6.1 What checks can I undertake to help ensure the integrity of my supply chain

6.2 Checks carried out by existing businesses

6.3 What will HMRC look out for when considering the extent of my checks?

7. Extracts from the Value Added Tax Act 1994

7.1 Joint and several liability for VAT unpaid on the supply of specified goods: The original Law

7.2 Joint and several liability for VAT unpaid on the supply of specified goods: The existing Law

Do you have any comments?

If you have a complaint or suggestion

 

Foreword

This notice cancels and replaces Notice 726 (August 2003). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.2 of this notice.

Further help and advice

If you need general advice or more copies of HM Revenue & Customs notices, please ring our advice service on 0300 200 3700. You can call between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

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1. Introduction

1.1 What is this notice about?

This notice explains how you could be made jointly and severally liable for the unpaid VAT of another VAT-registered business when you buy and/or sell specified goods.

1.2 What’s changed?

This notice replaces and cancels Notice 726 of August 2003. Whilst the name of this notice has been shortened, the subject matter remains the same. It now includes changes to the law announced in Budget 2007. One of the changes in the law came into effect on 1 May 2007 and extended the list of specified goods this measure can apply to (see paragraph 1.4 below). The goods specified in the original 2003 legislation are still covered by the revised legislation. Additionally, legislative amendments were made in Finance Act 2007 to enable the “presumptions” (see section 3) to be extended or altered by way of secondary, rather than primary, legislation. Other changes update the background to the joint and several liability rules and reflect the developing EU case law on tackling VAT fraud.

You can access details of any changes to this notice since March 2008 either on our Internet website at www.hmrc.gov.uk or by telephoning our advice service on 0300 200 3700.

This notice and VAT Information Sheet 08/07: Reverse charge for purchases and sales of mobile phones and computer chips, are available both on paper and on our website.

1.3 Who should read this notice?

If you are a VAT-registered business and buy and/or sell certain specified goods mentioned in paragraph 1.4, you should read this notice carefully.

1.4 What are the specified goods?

This measure only applies where there is a supply of goods or services that are subject to widespread VAT fraud – in particular, Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) VAT fraud. Given the way in which this fraud continually mutates, including the types of goods that are used to perpetrate the fraud, the list of specified goods was extended in May 2007.

For supplies made between 10 April 2003 and 30 April 2007, the specified goods were:

  • telephones and any other equipment, including parts and accessories, made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunications;
  • computers and any other equipment, including parts, accessories and software, made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems.

For supplies made on or after 1 May 2007, the specified goods are any:

  • equipment made or adapted for use as a telephone and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunication;
  • equipment made or adapted for use as a computer and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems (including, in particular, positional determination devices for use with satellite navigation systems – ie, “satnavs”);
  • other electronic equipment made or adapted for use by individuals for the purposes of leisure, amusement or entertainment and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with any such electronic equipment.

This final bullet includes items such as digital cameras, camcorders and other portable electronic devices for playing music and games such as iPods, hand-held or portable DVD players, Playstation Portables (PSP’s) etc.

Both versions of the legislation use the term “other equipment” in the description of the goods the measure applies to. Whilst this includes parts, accessories and software, it does not include parts such as screws and wires used in the manufacture of general items when sold separately.

“Parts, accessories and software” was used in the original legislation and refers to items made or adapted for use in connection with telephones, telecommunications, computers or computer systems. From 1 May 2007 “any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with (the categories of goods)” is the wording used. This includes parts, accessories and software such as telephone chargers, computer chips, memory cards or games cards.

1.5 What law does this notice relate to?

The legislation relating to the joint and several liability rules is in section 77A of the Value Added Tax Act 1994. Both the original and amended versions of the legislation are reproduced in section 7.

2. About joint and several liability for VAT unpaid by another

2.1 What is joint and several liability for VAT unpaid by another?

Where you (a VAT-registered business):

  • receive a taxable supply from another VAT-registered business; and
  • the supply is of specified goods (see paragraph 1.4 above); and
  • you “knew” or “had reasonable grounds to suspect” that the VAT on the supply, or any previous or subsequent supply, of those goods would go unpaid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC); and
  • you have received a notification of liability under the joint and several liability rules

you may be held liable for the net tax unpaid on those goods.

“Those goods” means the very same goods and not goods of the same description.

For example:
If you purchase 100 mobile phones from a supplier who had bought them as part of an order for 1000 mobile phones, then you may be held liable under this measure for any unpaid VAT on the 100 phones you bought and not the 1000 phones which your supplier bought.

2.2 What is “net tax”?

“Net tax” means the VAT charged on “those goods” less any input tax incurred on the purchase of those goods by the person who has not paid the VAT. For goods acquired from other Member States the “net tax” relating to the first UK supply will amount to the output tax on that supply (acquisition tax – input tax + output tax). HMRC will also take into account any VAT repayment due from it to the person who has not paid the VAT.

This liability for the net tax extends to every previous and subsequent recipient of those goods. Therefore, if VAT goes unpaid on the supply of the goods within a chain of supplies in which you are involved, you could become liable for the unpaid VAT if you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT would go unpaid.

2.3 Why were these rules introduced?

These rules are designed to tackle VAT fraud. A virulent type of VAT fraud is known as Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) VAT fraud.

MTIC fraud is a systematic criminal attack on the VAT system detected in many EU member States. In its simplest form, the fraud involves a fraudster obtaining a VAT registration number in the UK for the purposes of purchasing goods free from VAT in another EU member State, selling them at a VAT inclusive purchase price in the UK and then not paying the output tax due to HMRC. The goods are then sold through a number of UK businesses and finally sold outside the UK free from VAT. The final UK business claims a VAT repayment from HMRC that, if paid, crystallises the loss at the start of the UK supply chain.

This type of fraud relies heavily on the ability of fraudulent businesses to sell goods or services to other businesses that are complicit in the fraud, prepared to turn a blind eye, or not sufficiently circumspect about their trading connections. Such action fuels the growth of the fraud. These rules remove the attraction of financial gain.

2.4 How do I know whether these rules affect me?

You may be held jointly and severally liable for the net tax charged on specified goods if HMRC considers that you ‘knew’ or ‘had reasonable grounds to suspect’ that in your supply chain the VAT on the supply of goods would go unpaid and you have been served with a notification letter (see paragraph 4.2 below). In determining whether to serve a notice of liability on you, HMRC will take into account whether you have taken reasonable steps to verify the integrity of your supply chain and any other factors you feel should be brought to HMRC’s attention. Where HMRC is not satisfied, it may serve you with a notice of liability under which HMRC will hold you jointly and severally liable for the unpaid tax in the supply chain. As MTIC VAT fraud generally involves the wholesale of the specified goods and their removal from the UK, it is highly unlikely that manufacturers or retail suppliers of the specified goods will be affected by these rules.

2.5 How will HMRC establish “reasonable grounds to suspect”?

HMRC will consider the objective evidence that demonstrates how you conduct your business and the nature and characteristics of the supplies you make and receive to establish whether you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT would go unpaid. The evidence to demonstrate this is similar to the evidence that demonstrates that a trader “knew or should have known” that its transactions were connected with VAT fraud resulting in the right to deduct input tax being denied. Examples of ways in which you can ensure the integrity of your customers, suppliers and supplies are contained in section 6.

2.6 Presumption of “reasonable grounds to suspect”

You will be presumed to have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the VAT on the supply would go unpaid if you have purchased the specified goods for less than the:

  • lowest open market value of the goods; or
  • price payable for them by any previous supplier.

However, you may rebut these presumptions by providing evidence that the low purchase price of the goods was not connected with the failure to pay VAT by another. These are known as “rebuttable presumptions” (see section 3).

2.7 What is the impact of the reverse charge?

With effect from 1 June 2007, the way in which output tax is accounted for on the supply of mobile phones and computer chips between UK VAT-registered companies changed. Where the VAT-exclusive value of the supply is £5,000 or more, it is the responsibility of the customer (rather than the supplier) to account to HMRC for the VAT on the supply.

However, the goods covered by the reverse charge are not as wide ranging as the first two categories of goods covered by the joint and several liability rules. Furthermore, the third category of specified goods now covered by these rules (ie, other electronic equipment) is also not covered by the reverse charge and so normal accounting rules apply for these types of goods.

If you think that you are affected by the reverse charge you will need to refer to HMRC’s guidance – see VAT Information Sheet 08/07: Reverse charge for purchases and sales of mobile phones and computer chips.

3. Rebuttable presumptions

3.1 What are the “rebuttable presumptions”?

As explained in paragraph 2.6 above, you will be presumed to have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the VAT on the supply would go unpaid if you have purchased the specified goods for less than the lowest open market value of the goods, or the price you paid was less than that paid on any previous supply of the goods.

These presumptions are rebuttable where you can provide evidence that the low purchase price of the goods was not connected with the failure to pay VAT by another.

3.2 How am I to ascertain the lowest open market value of the goods or what price was paid for the goods by a previous supplier?

A business trading within a market should have a reasonable idea of the market prices for the goods on any given day. If goods are offered at what appears to be a bargain price then you should find out the reason for the low cost – if it is “too good to be true” then it probably is.

If a company trades within a suspicious supply chain and holds commercial evidence to demonstrate that the price it paid for goods was reasonable in the circumstances then HMRC will take this into consideration. Furthermore, the checks you should make to ascertain the integrity of a supply, supplier and/or customer should prevent you becoming caught in a fraudulent supply chain.

However, even if you have rebutted these presumptions, joint and several liability can still be applied where there is evidence to show that you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT would go unpaid.

3.3 Why do these factors demonstrate reasonable grounds to suspect?

When these rules were introduced in 2003, the way in which the fraud was normally perpetrated meant the price of the goods was reduced within the supply chain. So these factors were appropriate at that time. Since then the fraud has mutated and the way in which it is carried out has changed. This means that these factors may no longer feature in more recent supply chains. Changes in 2007 mean that the presumptions can be quickly extended or altered to reflect, and thus counter, the way in which the fraud works. However, no new presumptions have been introduced yet.

4. Applying joint and several liability for unpaid VAT of another

4.1 How will HMRC apply joint and several liability rules for VAT unpaid of another?

HMRC will send you a notification letter if:

  • You have bought and/or sold a quantity of the specified goods; and
  • The transaction took place within a supply chain where VAT was unpaid by another supplier in the chain; and
  • HMRC believe it can show that you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT would go unpaid.

Before the issue of a notification letter, each case will be independently reviewed and authorised by a central team within HMRC to ensure that the case is an appropriate one for the joint and several liability provisions and that there is sufficient evidence on a balance of probabilities to show the requisite knowledge or reasonable grounds for suspicion.

4.2 What is a notification letter?

The purpose of a notification letter is to inform you that HMRC considers you may be jointly and severally liable for the unpaid net tax. HMRC will send a notification letter to each known business in the chain of supply that it considers may be jointly and severally liable for the unpaid tax.

The letter will be clearly headed “Notification of joint and several liability” and HMRC will explain the reasons why it considers you may be jointly and severally liable. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate that you did not know nor have reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT would go unpaid and, where it is applicable, that there is a legitimate reason for the low purchase price of the goods. You will also have an opportunity to tell HMRC about other factors which you feel HMRC should consider. You will need to provide this response within 21 days of notification.

Any factors you wish to bring to HMRC’s attention will be considered by the officer who issued the letter and then independently reviewed.

If HMRC does not accept that the evidence or explanation you have provided is satisfactory, or you have not replied within 21 days, you will be issued with a notice of liability for the net tax unpaid.

4.3 What is a notice of liability?

A notice of liability demands payment of the amount of VAT for which HMRC considers you are jointly and severally liable for.

4.4 How can I avoid being caught up in MTIC fraud?

It is in your interests to check carefully who you are dealing with. In order to help you avoid being unwittingly caught up in a supply chain where VAT goes unpaid, this notice contains some examples of reasonable steps you can take to establish the integrity of your customers, suppliers and supplies.

4.5 What are “reasonable steps”?

It is good commercial practice for businesses to carry out checks to establish the credibility and legitimacy of their customers, suppliers and supplies. These checks will need to be more extensive in business sectors that are commercially risky or vulnerable to fraud and other criminality.

Such checks will also assist you to avoid being involved in supply chains linked to the theft of VAT and the possibility of becoming jointly and severally liable for VAT unpaid elsewhere in your supply chain.

HMRC does not expect you to go beyond what is reasonable. However, HMRC would expect you to make a judgement on the integrity of your supply chain and the suppliers, customers and goods within it.

Factors you may wish to consider include:

  • The type and level of checks you carry out to establish the integrity of the supply chain and the action you take as a consequence of those checks;
  • The nature of the supply;
  • Payment arrangements and conditions; and
  • Details of the movement of goods involved.

You can find examples of checks at section 6.

4.6 Can HMRC tell me exactly what checks I should undertake?

No. The examples contained in this notice are only guidelines for the kind of checks you could make to help avoid dealing with high-risk businesses and individuals. The checks you will need to make, and the extent of them, will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your trade and you are free to ask the most appropriate questions required to protect yourself in the particular circumstances of your individual transactions. A definitive checklist would merely enable fraudsters and those willing to turn a blind eye, to ensure that they can satisfy such a list.

4.7 What do I do if my checks indicate that a fraud exists?

If your checks indicate that there may be a fraud you should consider whether you wish to continue with the transaction. You may also wish to inform Customs Confidential on 0800 595 000.

4.8 How will HMRC establish the debt and demand the net tax due?

Where HMRC establishes that a business in a high-risk supply chain has not paid the VAT due to HMRC, HMRC will first demand payment from that business – usually by way of an assessment.

Where that assessment is not paid, and if you are a business in the high risk supply chain, HMRC will issue a notification letter to you where it is satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, you knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that the VAT on that supply would go unpaid. HMRC will take account of any explanations and evidence you provide within 21 days of the issue of the notification letter. If HMRC is not satisfied with your evidence/explanations it will issue you with a notice of liability for the unpaid tax. If the notice of liability is not paid HMRC will instigate its normal debt recovery procedures, which may include civil recovery proceedings against you.

4.9 Are there any exceptions?

Joint and several liability rules for VAT unpaid on the supply of specified goods will not be applied in circumstances where:

  • VAT goes unpaid as a result of genuine bad debts;
  • VAT goes unpaid as a result of genuine business failure;
  • goods are bought by a business for its own use, rather than onward sale; or
  • a business can demonstrate that the low purchase price paid for the goods was due to circumstances unconnected with the failure to pay VAT.

If you have genuinely done everything you can to check the integrity of the supply chain and your suppliers and customers, can demonstrate you have done so, have addressed concerns raised through your checks and have no other reason to suspect VAT would go unpaid, the joint and several liability rules will not be applied.

5. Appeal and reconsideration procedures

5.1 Independent Appeal

If you have been issued with a Notice of Liability you can appeal to the independent VAT and Duties Tribunal. The Leaflet Appeals and Applications to Tribunal tells you how to do this. You can request a copy of the leaflet by telephoning the Tribunal on one of the following numbers:

  • London (0207 612 9700);
  • Manchester (0161 833 5110); or
  • Edinburgh (0131 271 4330).

You have 30 days from the date of the notice of liability in which to inform the Tribunal of your appeal. If your appeal is late the Tribunal may decide not to hear your appeal.

5.2 Is there anything else I can do?

Yes. You can ask HMRC to reconsider its decision. If you think that there are facts which should have been taken into account please tell HMRC. It is in your interests to provide any further information as soon as possible.

5.3 Can I appeal after HMRC’s reconsideration?

Yes but you only have a right to appeal to the Tribunal if you make your request for a reconsideration within the 30 days. You will then have a further 21 days from the date HMRC notifies you of the results of its reconsideration, in which to appeal to the Tribunal.

We will discuss or reconsider your case with you at any time but if you contact HMRC after the 30 days have passed HMRC cannot give you a further 21 days in which to appeal. It will be for the Tribunal to decide whether your appeal in those circumstances.

5.4 Do I have to pay the demand before my appeal is heard?

Yes. However, you can make an application to HMRC or the VAT and Duties Tribunal to have your appeal heard without the payment of the tax. The burden on proof will be on you to show that the payment of the disputed amount would cause hardship. If HMRC declines your application, you are still entitled to ask the Tribunal to consider your case.

6. Dealing with other businesses – How to ensure the integrity of your supply chain

6.1 What checks can I undertake to help ensure the integrity of my supply chain

The following are examples of indicators that could alert you to the risk that VAT would go unpaid:

1) Legitimacy of customers or suppliers. For example:

  • what is your customer’s/supplier’s history in the trade?
  • has a buyer and seller contacted you within a short space of time with offers to buy/sell goods of same specifications and quantity?
  • has your supplier referred you to a customer who is willing to buy goods of the same quantity and specifications being offered by the supplier?
  • does your supplier offer deals that carry no commercial risk for you – eg, no requirement to pay for goods until payment received from customer?
  • do deals with your customer/supplier involve consistent or pre-determined profit margins, irrespective of the date, quantities or specifications of the specified goods traded?
  • does your supplier (or another business in the transaction chain) require you to make 3rd party payments or payments to an offshore bank account?
  • are the goods adequately insured?
  • are they high value deals offered with no formal contractual arrangements?
  • are they high value deals offered by a newly established supplier with minimal trading history, low credit rating etc?
  • can a brand new business obtain specified goods cheaper than a long established one?
  • has HMRC specifically notified you that previous deals involving your supplier had been traced to a VAT loss and/or had involved carousel movements of goods?
  • has HMRC specifically notified you that HMRC date stamps have been present on goods offered for sale by your supplier, or that there is evidence of HMRC date stamps being removed from packaging. This would strongly suggest that the goods had been subject to carousel movement, which should alert you to a significant risk that the transactions entered into with that supplier may be connected with the non-payment of VAT;
  • has HMRC specifically notified you that other MTIC VAT fraud characteristics (such as third party payments) have occurred in transaction chains involving your supplier?

2) Commercial viability of the transaction. For example:

  • Is there a market for this type of goods – such as superseded or outdated mobile phone models or non-UK specific models?
  • What research have you done to test whether these goods are available as described and in the quantities being offered?
  • Is it commercially viable for the price of the goods to increase within the short duration of the supply chain?
  • Have normal commercial practices been adopted in negotiating prices?
  • Is there a commercial reason for any third party payments?
  • Are normal commercial arrangements in place for the financing of the goods?

3) Viability of the goods as described by your supplier.

For example:

  • Do the goods exist?
  • Have they been previously supplied to you?
  • Are they in good condition and not damaged?
  • Do the quantities of the goods concerned appear credible?
  • Do the goods have UK specifications yet are to be exported?
  • Is your supplier unwilling to provide IMEI or other serial numbers?
  • What recourse is there if the goods are not as described?

HMRC recommends that sufficient checks be carried out in each of the above categories to ensure that you are not caught in a fraudulent supply chain.

6.2 Checks carried out by existing businesses

The following are examples of specific checks carried out by businesses that took part in the consultation exercise in 2003 when these rules were introduced. These may also help you to decide what checks you should carry out, but this list is not exhaustive and you should decide what checks you need to carry out before dealing with a supplier or customer:

  • obtain copies of Certificates of Incorporation and VAT registration certificates;
  • verify VAT registration details with HMRC;
  • obtain signed letters of introduction on headed paper;
  • obtain some form of written and signed trade references;
  • obtain credit checks or other background checks from an independent third party;
  • insist on personal contact with a senior officer of the prospective supplier, making an initial visit to their premises whenever possible;
  • obtain the prospective supplier’s bank details, to check whether:

(a) payments would be made to a third party; and

(b) that in the case of an import, the supplier and their bank shared the same country of residence.

  • check details provided against other sources, e.g. website, letterheads, BT landline records.

Paperwork in addition to invoices may be received in relation to the supplies you purchase and sell. This documentation should be kept to support your view of a transaction’s legitimacy. The following are examples of additional paperwork that some businesses retain:

  • purchase orders;
  • pro-forma invoices;
  • delivery notes;
  • CMRs (Convention Merchandises Routiers) or airway bills;
  • allocation notification;
  • inspection reports.

Again this is not an exhaustive list, but does show some of the more common subsidiary documentation.

6.3 What will HMRC look out for when considering the extent of my checks?

In each case, HMRC will be seeking to identify what actions or precautions you took in response to any indicators of risk. This will focus on the due diligence checks you undertook and, most importantly, the actions taken by you in response to the results of those checks. In each case, HMRC will consider:

  • What due diligence checks were performed? This includes any checks designed to address the specific risks of a specific case;
  • To what extent were your checks appropriate, adequate and timely in relation to addressing the risks identified?
  • What did the results of the checks indicate?
  • Did you take appropriate action in response to the results of the checks?

If you have genuinely done everything you can to check the integrity of the supply chain, can demonstrate you have done so, have taken heed of any indications that VAT may go unpaid and have no other reason to suspect VAT would go unpaid, the joint and several liability rules will not be applied.

7. Extracts from the Value Added Tax Act 1994

7.1 Joint and several liability for VAT unpaid on the supply of specified goods: The original Law

(This extract of the legislation only applies to supplies of specified goods in section (1)(a) and (b) below between 10 April 2003 and 30 April 2007).

Section 77A, VAT Act 1994.

77A Joint and several liability of traders in supply chain where tax unpaid

(1) This section applies to goods of any of the following descriptions -

(a) telephones and any other equipment, including parts and accessories, made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunication;

(b) computers and any other equipment, including parts, accessories and software, made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems.

(2) Where:

(a) a taxable supply of goods to which this section applies has been made to a taxable person, and

(b) at the time of the supply the person knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that some or all of the VAT payable in respect of that supply, or on any previous or subsequent supply of those goods, would go unpaid,

the Commissioners may serve on him a notice specifying the amount of the VAT so payable that is unpaid, and stating the effect of the notice.

(3) The effect of a notice under this section is that:

(a) the person served with the notice, and

(b) the person liable, apart from this section, for the amount specified in the notice,

are jointly and severally liable to the Commissioners for that amount.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2) above the amount of VAT that is payable in respect of a supply is the lesser of:

(a) the amount chargeable on the supply, and

(b) the amount shown as due on the supplier’s return for the prescribed accounting period in question (if he has made one) together with any amount assessed as due from him for that period (subject to any appeal by him).

(5) The reference in subsection (4)(b) above to assessing an amount as due from a person includes a reference to the case where, because it is impracticable to do so, the amount is not notified to him.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (2) above, a person shall be presumed to have reasonable grounds for suspecting matters to be as mentioned in paragraph (b) of that subsection if the price payable by him for the goods in question:

(a) was less than the lowest price that might reasonably be expected to be payable for them on the open market, or

(b) was less than the price payable on any previous supply of those goods.

(7) The presumption provided for by subsection (6) above is rebuttable on proof that the low price payable for the goods was due to circumstances unconnected with failure to pay VAT.

(8) Subsection (6) above is without prejudice to any other way of establishing reasonable grounds for suspicion.

(9) The Treasury may by order amend subsection (1) above; and any such order may make such incidental, supplemental, consequential or transitional provision as the Treasury think fit.

(10) For the purposes of this section:

(a) “goods” include services;

(b) an amount of VAT counts as unpaid only to the extent that it exceeds the amount of any refund due.

7.2 Joint and several liability for VAT unpaid on the supply of specified goods: The existing Law

(This extract of the legislation only applies to supplies of specified goods in section (1)(a), (b) and (c) below from 1 May 2007)

Section 77A, VAT Act 1994.

77A Joint and several liability of traders in supply chain where tax unpaid.

(1) This section applies to goods of any of the following descriptions:

(a) any equipment made or adapted for use as a telephone and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunication;

(b) any equipment made or adapted for use as a computer and equipment made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems (including, in particular, positional determination devices for use with satellite navigation systems);

(c) any other electronic equipment made or adapted for use by individuals for the purposes of leisure, amusement or entertainment and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with any such electronic equipment;

and in this subsection “other equipment” includes parts, accessories and software.

(2) Where:

(a) a taxable supply of goods to which this section applies has been made to a taxable person, and

(b) at the time of the supply the person knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that some or all of the VAT payable in respect of that supply, or on any previous or subsequent supply of those goods, would go unpaid,

the Commissioners may serve on him a notice specifying the amount of the VAT so payable that is unpaid, and stating the effect of the notice.

(3) The effect of a notice under this section is that:

(a) the person served with the notice, and

(b) the person liable, apart from this section, for the amount specified in the notice,

are jointly and severally liable to the Commissioners for that amount.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2) above the amount of VAT that is payable in respect of a supply is the lesser of -

(a) the amount chargeable on the supply, and

(b) the amount shown as due on the supplier’s return for the prescribed accounting period in question (if he has made one) together with any amount assessed as due from him for that period (subject to any appeal by him).

(5) The reference in subsection (4)(b) above to assessing an amount as due from a person includes a reference to the case where, because it is impracticable to do so, the amount is not notified to him.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (2) above, a person shall be presumed to have reasonable grounds for suspecting matters to be as mentioned in paragraph (b) of that subsection if the price payable by him for the goods in question:

(a) was less than the lowest price that might reasonably be expected to be payable for them on the open market, or

(b) was less than the price payable on any previous supply of those goods.

(7) The presumption provided for by subsection (6) above is rebuttable on proof that the low price payable for the goods was due to circumstances unconnected with failure to pay VAT.

(8) Subsection (6) above is without prejudice to any other way of establishing reasonable grounds for suspicion.

(9) The Treasury may by order amend subsection (1) above.

(9A) The Treasury may by order amend this section in order to extend or otherwise alter the circumstances in which a person shall be presumed to have reasonable grounds for suspecting matters to be as mentioned in subsection (2)(b) above.

(9B) Any order under this section may make such incidental, supplemental, consequential or transitional provision as the Treasury think fit.

(10) For the purposes of this section:

(a) “goods” include services;

(b) an amount of VAT counts as unpaid only to the extent that it exceeds the amount of any refund due.

Do you have any comments?

We would be pleased to receive any comments or suggestions you may have about this notice. Please write to:

HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Fraud Policy Team
3rd floor
100 Parliament Street
London
SW1A 2BQ

Please note this address is not for general enquiries. You should ring our advice service about those.

If you have a complaint or suggestion

If you have a complaint please try to resolve it on the spot with our officer. If you are unable to do so, or have a suggestion about how we can improve our service, you should contact one of our Regional Complaints Units. You will find the telephone number under ‘Revenue & Customs' or under 'Customs and Excise' in your local telephone book. Ask for a copy of our code of practice ‘Complaints and putting things right’. You will find further information on our website at www.hmrc.gov.uk

If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction you can ask the Adjudicator to look into it. The Adjudicator, whose services are free, is a fair and unbiased referee whose recommendations are independent of

HM Revenue & Customs.
You can contact the Adjudicator at:
The Adjudicator’s Office
Eighth Floor
Euston Tower
286 Euston Road
London
NW1 3US

Phone: 0300 057 1111
Fax: 0300 057 1212
E-mail: adjudicators@gtnet.gov.uk
Internet: http://www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk/

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$START-DATA$ title=Joint and several liability for unpaid VAT^ summary=VAT Notice 726: This notice explains how joint and several liability applies to the supply of specified goods.^ doctype=PublicNotice^ date=23-Jan-2014^ author=TP3679772^ $END-DATA$
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