In recent years, we have seen HMRC change in the way it interacts with businesses, in particular by not always providing clear and binding rulings regarding high-value or high-risk transactions.
Instead, HMRC is requiring businesses and their VAT consultants to take a view based on HMRC’s published guidance. This often causes issues, as HMRC’s guidance can be unclear, inconsistent and is changed regularly.
More than ever, we see that businesses require support from their VAT consultants to enable them to make the right decisions and, if challenged by HMRC, be able to make a technically robust defence of their VAT position.
Frequently, businesses are engaging in transactions that have significant VAT implications. For example:
- Land and property;
- Mergers, acquisitions and disposals of companies;
- Sale of a business (or part of a business) as a Transfer of a Going Concern (TOGC); and,
- Supply chains, in particular EU cross border and international supplies of goods and services.
All these types of transaction can be very difficult for businesses to manage with regard to the potential VAT risks involved, including the possibility of VAT registration requirements in other countries.
At WB VAT, we have a depth of expertise and experience to provide your business with a technically sound VAT service around non-standard transactions.
For example, we advised a large business that had been challenged by HMRC in relation to VAT it had recovered in relation to deal costs. The issue was around who was the party that commissioned the work (i.e. the company itself or its stakeholders). After reviewing the engagement letter, invoices and other documentation (i.e. contracts) we entered into negotiations with HMRC to clearly outline the recipient of the services and secure the VAT recoverability position.