Our consultants have many years of experience working with clients on the day-to-day issues faced by their organisation. We provide advice and guidance on VAT opportunities or support in the handling of issues raised by HMRC.
Our consultancy service offers expertise in tax law, giving our clients the confidence and peace of mind they have the right partner on their side. We specialise in VAT Consultancy for the not for profit sector, making a difference for charities, educators, agricultural societies and healthcare organisations. Additionally, we are often approached by accountants and solicitors to come up with VAT solutions for their clients.
VAT Consultancy can involve responding to a reactive VAT query usually raised by way of a letter, email or telephone call. Often, we are contacted and asked if a particular approach to VAT is doable, and if so, how? If you have a VAT query, please complete our form, we are more than happy to have an initial conversation to see if we can be of service.
Proactive VAT Consultancy
We regularly review case law and identify opportunities that have arisen as a result of a change of law, or more likely, because of decisions or judgments of the Tribunals or Courts, which we have analysed. We may even have been responsible for the new legal interpretation ourselves! We will then proactively reach out to companies to make them aware of the change which could be of benefit.
VAT Consultancy for HMRC Issues
Over the years, we have worked with many organisations to manage issues raised by HMRC.
HMRC raise issues by visits (increasingly rare), by a fishing letter or by the raising of an assessment - these all need to be considered in detail.
Research has shown that more than 50% of assessments raised by HMRC are incorrect in at least one material particular. Certainly, HMRC will use VAT assessments to bolster a specific policy – whether or not this policy is supportable in law.
We will always review all assessments raised against our clients. More commonly, we will support the correspondence to HMRC and possibly challenge through the Tribunals, resulting in issues being either withdrawn or reduced.
Where HMRC contend that organisations are not acting in compliance with their policies, they will bolster their operations by either imposing or at least threatening to apply a range of penalties. The letters threatening penalties and the documents attached to them, appear at first reading, to be severe. However, it is the law and the law alone that prescribes whether penalties are upheld. Such circumstances are quite restricted and, with proper operations, it should be possible for most organisations to challenge HMRC, whilst not falling subject to penalties.
Moreover, guidance given to VAT inspectors can result in a belief that penalties must be applied to organisations who have not followed HMRC's policies as it envisages, but this is not the case in law.
A further extreme is when HMRC contend fraud, or ‘conduct involving dishonesty’. If faced with such an allegation, organisations will need our professional advice. In such circumstances, it is not only the conduct that needs reviewing, but the quantum of tax that HMRC may allege is due to them. Usually, the amount of money HRMC has stated is owing to them is significantly overstated.
VATangles' team of expert consultants are experienced at liaising with HMRC as well as challenging issues raised. Wherever penalties are issued or threatened, we will use our skills to examine their merit. Although often threatened, it is rare indeed that any of our clients end up paying such penalties.
Most of the day-to-day matters of consultancy are items that we deal with regularly – albeit that we need to take into account the requirements and the intricacies of an organisation. The number of years in practice means there is little that we have not seen or handled, and our understanding of VAT and case law coupled with our mindset and ethos, enables us to find the right solutions and support for our clients.
MEET THE EXPERTS
VAT CONSULTANCY CASE STUDY
We were contacted by a firm of accountants on behalf of one of their clients – a public house.
Fraud investigators had undertaken overnight raids at 120 pubs in the South-East of England, as well as the premises of a firm of stocktakers.
They alleged that VAT totalling more than £12million had been suppressed – including by the public house in question. They arrested the stocktakers for fraud.
We acted initially for the one public house, then we took on a few more. We were introduced to, and acted for, the stocktakers and eventually acted for all of the pubs.
The amount of VAT that was eventually found to have been under-declared came to £191.63. The criminal charges against the stocktakers were dropped.
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