How to make sure you ARE the subject of a VAT investigation

Following these steps below will help you ensure that you ARE subject to a VAT investigation….you have been warned!

1) Do not read the VAT legislation – after all, it is thousands of pages long, and take it from me (I have read it, cover to cover, many, many times over) it is REALLY boring. Just don’t bother – you don’t need to know the rules – right?

2) Guess what you are allowed to claim VAT on – in fact – go one better – just assume you can claim VAT on everything – fuel, entertainment – don’t worry – put your head in the sand

3) Claim more expenditure than anyone else in your industry – that will make you stand out like a sore thumb to HMRC – make sure that if everyone else in your industry usually makes a quarterly payment to HMRC, that you, instead are in a repayment position – that will give you a beautiful red flag to HMRC’s VAT-man

4) Constantly submit late VAT returns – HMRC really loves to look at people who are constantly flouting the submission deadlines…so make sure you are always late submitting to get the VAT-man knocking.

So there you go – 4 things you should do if you would like a visit from the VAT-man.
Now I realise that this post is very tongue and cheek – but there is a serious message, of course. If you are preparing and submitting your own VAT returns – please, please, make sure you know all the rules…I promise you, at some point, not necessarily this week, this month, this quarter, or this year…but at some point, it WILL come back to bite you.

And it is not uncommon for a standard VAT visit within the first 3 years of VAT registration – you have been warned!

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