Our Services

General VAT Advice

Our comprehensive range of advisory VAT services provides clients with solutions-driven, commercially-focused and reliable indirect tax advice and support.

Below you will find a comprehensive summary of our general VAT services split into four key categories:

  1. Cashflow & Savings
  2. Compliance & Disputes
  3. Liability
  4. Business Restructuring

Should you not find what you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact us for a bespoke consultation; our friendly, expert team will be more than happy to help.

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01 General VAT Advice Services

Cashflow & Savings

Any new business in the UK will likely be in a VAT repayment position in its start-up phase. This is because before commencing to supply goods and services, it will not have any output tax but will incur input tax on most of its start-up costs (i.e. purchase of equipment, furniture, premises, raw materials etc.). It’s essential, therefore, to recover this VAT from HMRC as soon as possible to minimise funding costs.

VAT Solutions can assist with the timely submission of VAT returns and the speedy processing of VAT repayment claims. With previous experience working within HMRC, we understand how its systems operate and the queries that are likely to be raised. We can manage the repayment process to ensure delays are avoided.

We can also advise regarding your accounting and invoicing procedures to take maximum advantage of VAT regulations. We can provide specialist advice on a wide range of services tailored to your business circumstances, for example:

  • Output tax deferment (Decelerator)
  • Input tax accruals (Accelerator)
  • Bad Debt Relief
  • Cash and Annual accounting implementation

Businesses that provide services that are primarily exempt are likely to fall within the partial exemption rule, which means the business will have to use an approved partial exemption method to determine how much input tax you may recover on associated supplies. In carefully reviewing both the inputs and outputs of the business, VAT Solutions can agree and implement the most suitable partial exemption method to maximise VAT recovery.

If a customer doesn’t pay you for goods or services on which you have charged VAT, and you have paid that VAT to HMRC, VAT Solutions can help you to get the VAT back.

VAT Solutions can prepare a claim and liaise with HMRC to recover the VAT charged to your business.

Customs duty is a tax on importing goods produced outside the European Union (EU). VAT Solutions can help you determine whether you should be paying customs duty and, if so, the value you should pay using the correct duty rate for the product. Our resource allows us to advise on using reliefs and deferment opportunities along with streamlining import processes.

VAT reliefs are available for various businesses, individuals and charities. VAT Solutions can identify where and when you may be entitled to VAT relief to help you adopt good VAT practices and reduce your VAT burden.

There is a levy of Import VAT on goods imported from non-EU countries. HMRC outlines strict guidelines concerning the certificates and evidence required to recover the VAT. VAT Solutions can assist by advising you on your import VAT recovery and identifying the type of goods where import VAT is not due in the first place, thereby increasing the cash flow of your business.

HMRC has been convinced in exceptional circumstances to allow simplified methods of VAT recovery, for example, on employee expenses and company credit cards. We have assisted several businesses in these discussions.

All pension funds suffer VAT on costs, mainly if they invest in property. There may be scope to use VAT registrations to recover some of the VAT incurred.

Ensuring good internal controls are in place to manage VAT payments is essential to avoid any difficulties with HMRC. This includes payments under any special schemes or payments on account.

02 General VAT Advice Services

Compliance & Disputes

Sometimes, it is possible to challenge assessments issued by HMRC and have them either reduced or withdrawn. We will help a business decide on the correct course of action and assist in reducing the VAT liability; we will also review assessments and assist in any negotiations entered into with HMRC.

Businesses may incur penalties for several reasons, including late registration, errors, or alleged dishonesty. How you cooperate with HMRC can reduce the size of the fine and, in some cases, reduce the liability to nil. VAT Solutions can help advise you concerning any type of VAT penalty you may have incurred. In addition, we can help you with your VAT accounting to help you avoid further penalties in the future.

Whilst exports are zero-rated, we find that HMRC is beginning to scrutinise export evidence, raise questions, and even assess where their requirements are not met. We have assisted several businesses in defending this action.

In addition to penalties, businesses may face interest on misdeclarations of VAT. VAT Solutions can help, much like with penalties, resolve interest disputes and verify that the amount charged by HMRC is accurate.

We will assist by reviewing any assessments raised by HMRC. We will review the grounds for the assessment and give our initial opinion on the validity of the assessment for free. Part of this service is to advise on the options available and the details of the follow-up procedures.

If an assessment review and local reconsideration by HMRC are unsuccessful, the next option is to appeal to an independent VAT Tribunal.

We advise and support the best course of action and how to appeal. If required, we will also appeal on behalf of any business, instruct counsel and assist at the hearing.

A VAT Health Check is an in-depth periodic review of a business’s activities and systems to ensure that VAT is being dealt with accurately and correctly. Examples of the areas covered as part of a Health Check are detailed below:

  • VAT returns (completion and submission)
  • Systems
  • Invoicing procedures
  • Income (VAT liability)
  • Expenditure (VAT recovery)
  • Land and property transactions
  • Partial Exemption
  • International transactions
  • Non-business activities

This list is by no means exhaustive and will be tailored to a business’s particular requirements. In addition to overall compliance, the Health Check may help to identify areas where VAT recovery can be maximised and provide potential cost-saving ideas.

We have found this service can be beneficial before a scheduled visit from HMRC.

In the unfortunate situation that you find yourself in a dispute with HMRC, VAT Solutions can liaise with the relevant VAT office on your behalf to review the case – this is called a local reconsideration. We will ensure that all the facts are fully taken into account, and we will aim to resolve disputes by exploring all reasonable possibilities of settlement locally with HMRC.

We provide training in any format to suit your particular needs and requirements. The type of services provided includes the following:

In House Training

We will undertake training for all staff dealing with VAT, from those who process VAT to those responsible for controlling and managing the tax. The training can be carried out at your premises and will be designed for the particular needs of your business.

External Training

We undertake training on the general system of VAT and VAT legislation. This includes topics such as VAT compliance, tax management, and VAT optimisation.


These can be run individually or in conjunction with other businesses and will typically cover proposed changes in VAT legislation, changes in HMRC’s policy and opportunities to save VAT.

VAT Training Manual

This will be tailored to your precise business requirements and industry sector for circulation to relevant personnel.

A combination of these methods can also be facilitated.

VAT is becoming an ever more complex tax, and the onus is placed on you to declare the correct tax at the right time. Interest and penalties can often arise due to failure to comply with this requirement. VAT Solutions can give you the peace of mind required when assimilating your return by providing technical assistance with those more complex and/or one-off transactions you may be uncertain about.

Landfill tax, Aggregate levy and Climate Change levy are less commonly applicable taxes, but from time to time, businesses unwittingly become drawn into projects which require consideration of these taxes. VAT Solutions can help identify and advise on the impact.

We have experience negotiating with HMRC on difficult payment situations. We can assist in producing and presenting financial information in the best possible manner to help secure a realistic and acceptable payment plan with HMRC.

03 General VAT Advice Services


All registered persons making taxable supplies will be required to account for output tax on those supplies at the appropriate VAT rate. It is crucial for both you and your customers that the correct VAT treatment is applied. Similarly, you need to ensure that you are not being charged VAT incorrectly, especially in the case of exempt/partly exempt and non-VAT registered businesses where this represents an absolute cost. VAT Solutions can help businesses clarify the correct VAT treatment for their products and services. We can assist in negotiating or seeking new rulings from HMRC on products and services.

As case law develops and new products and services evolve, VAT treatment can sometimes be altered to the taxpayer’s advantage. Food products are an excellent example of this; achieving zero ratings can significantly impact marketing and profitability. We have experience in assisting clients in this area.

Retailers and those with point-of-sale coded product files should review these frequently to ensure the VAT treatment is correct and that they are not under or over-stating their VAT liability through incorrect VAT coding.

VAT Solutions can help your business plan manage future changes. We can identify legislation changes that will directly affect your business and plan to avoid risk whilst also considering opportunities that may be available. VAT Solutions recognises that professional and correctly implemented VAT planning can result in significant VAT savings or, at the very least, deferral of any VAT cost.

Retailers are active in a wide range of markets, and for many, it can be difficult, time-consuming and costly to record the VAT on every sale. As a solution, retailers can use several VAT accounting schemes instead of accounting for VAT in the standard way. VAT Solutions can help retailers by identifying the different retail schemes available and the most appropriate and easiest for your business. By not having to record VAT separately in your accounts for every retail sale you make, VAT Solutions will identify the best VAT accounting method to help save you time and money.

Most services in connection with finance are VAT-exempt. Whilst not having to charge VAT on their services, exempt businesses will restrict the recovery of input tax; therefore, it is vital for them to understand the VAT treatment of the services they provide. Intermediary services and outsourced financial services are often viewed as standard-rated.

VAT Solutions can help your business understand the financial products and services you offer from a VAT perspective, ensuring the correct VAT treatment is implemented.

Whenever you supply services, then for VAT purposes, it is essential to know the place of supply. This determines which country’s VAT rules should be used and how you have to account for the VAT on the sale. If you are supplying services abroad, the place of supply is not always clear. At VAT Solutions, we can help businesses by determining where the place of supply is taking place, whether or not you need to implement the reverse charge mechanism and if your supplies are being made to taxable or non-taxable persons.

There are unique VAT treatments for charities consisting of relief from VAT on expenditure and income. VAT is an actual cost to charities that work with very strict funding. We have assisted many charities in managing their VAT cost and making VAT claims.

04 General VAT Advice Services

Business Restructuring

VAT on the acquisition of an interest in land and property can be very substantial.

VAT Solutions can assist in mitigating the VAT amount payable. This is of particular interest to companies engaged in exempt/partially exempt activities, i.e. financial services and insurance.

The acquisition of another company through acquiring the share capital of that entity can result in irrecoverable VAT costs. This is because HMRC believes that as the transfer of shares is exempt from VAT, any VAT costs incurred in connection with the transfers are not deductible. The VAT applicable to professional fees can represent a significant VAT cost.

With proper VAT planning and consideration of the role of the professional advisers and the precise nature of the services they provide, it may be possible to argue that some of the services are exempt from VAT or alternatively are deductible because they do not relate to the purchase of shares.

Consideration can also be given to acquiring the business through another mechanism, i.e. purchase of the underlying assets if this proves more VAT efficient, subject to other commercial and legal considerations.

The VAT treatment of services is determined by the nature of the service that is supplied. The contractual arrangements between the parties predominantly determine the nature of the service. It is vitally important, therefore, that contracts accurately reflect what is being supplied and that VAT implications of contracts are considered at the drafting stage.

VAT Solutions can assist with drafting contracts to ensure that the contracts are “VAT friendly” in that they achieve the intended VAT treatment and do not result in any unpleasant surprises.

VAT incurred on professional costs related to corporate restructuring has been an area of dispute with HMRC for many years. Generally, HMRC views any VAT on such costs, which relate to sharing issues, as being non-recoverable. VAT Solutions can advise on any dispute you may have with HMRC on this subject and help you prepare a case to convince HMRC to allow VAT recovery.

The transaction can be treated as a transfer of a going concern (TOGC), provided that certain conditions are satisfied on a sale or transfer of business assets. If the conditions are not met, the transaction will be subject to VAT in the usual manner. The main implication of a TOGC is that the transaction is treated as being outside the scope of VAT, meaning no VAT is chargeable.

At VAT Solutions, we can assist businesses by identifying certain costs associated with a TOGC that may be recoverable and identifying the unique requirements necessary for a TOGC. Furthermore, we will also assist businesses in the VAT registration or transfer of a VAT number between the seller and buyer, if required.

A taxable person is someone who is actually registered or is required to be registered for VAT. However, before a person registers for VAT, they must make or intend to make taxable supplies. For VAT purposes, persons include individuals, partnerships, corporate bodies, unincorporated clubs and associations.

VAT Solutions can help persons identify where they may be liable to register, for example, exceeding the registration threshold and associated requirements. We also advise on avoiding penalties by ensuring that the registration rules are correctly observed and applied.

The property sector has to deal with many VAT issues, which depend on the exact nature of the supply being made. The basic position is that property transactions are exempt from VAT; however, many exceptions are treated differently for VAT purposes, and the Option to Tax rules are now very complex.

The sum of money involved in property transactions is generally significant, and failure to appreciate the VAT implications can be costly. VAT Solutions can work with you to help you understand your VAT position and its treatment. We can deal with many issues within this complex area of VAT, including the Option to Tax, new builds, construction work, and residential and charitable properties, to name but a few.

When a business becomes insolvent or goes into administration, the responsibility to deal with VAT continues. Negotiation and reporting to HMRC have become more complex, and some flexibility exists in the VAT accountancy process. We can assist in discussing and negotiating with HMRC in this area for the business and professional advisors.

We work with a vast network of professional advisors, from accountants, tax advisors and lawyers to architects, surveyors and various specialist consultants. We provide VAT advice on a range of topics related to their specialist areas, and where possible, we can cross-refer services.

It is possible to arrange for a group of companies to be regarded as a single entity for VAT purposes. The benefit of group registration is that supplies of goods and services between group members are (subject to specified exceptions) ignored for VAT purposes. Grouping is of particular benefit where one or more group members is exempt/partially exempt from VAT. Grouping avoids a potential VAT cost on supplies between connected companies in these circumstances.

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