VAT inspectors are sent out to verify that returns filed correctly reflect the underlying accounting records of the tax payer.
They will conduct as many tests as they feel are necessary to satisfy themselves on this point. For instance:
- Can you provide an audit trail that shows how your sales and purchases have been recorded and how these figures show up in your VAT return?
- Have you kept copies of your sales and purchase invoices?
- Do you keep a formal reconciliation of your VAT account?
- Have you paid over the correct car scale charges?
- If you operate a special scheme, cash accounting, flat rate scheme, annual accounting etc, have you abided by the scheme rules. Particularly are you still eligible to be in the scheme?
- If you import or export goods from or to EU or other destinations have you reported these transactions correctly on your VAT returns and supplementary returns?
Additionally inspectors may ask to see annual accounts.
Prior to the visit you should ask the VAT office to clarify what period they will be checking and ensure you have all the records to hand to satisfy points 1 to 6 above.
If you receive notice of an impending visit please call if you need help gathering together the required information.