VAT services

Our VAT specialists offer a range of services



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Under investigation or in a dispute with HMRC?

Don’t panic! Our VAT experts can guide you through the options that are available and make the process as stress-free as possible.

Need a VAT Health Check?

Our experienced VAT experts can conduct a mock inspection to review your ‘VAT health’. Are your business systems and processes compliant with HMRC rules? To identify areas where you can improve your VAT position.

Need VAT advice on a property transaction?

If you get the VAT treatment wrong it could be extremely costly, with unexpected bills and potentially substantial penalties.

Our VAT Services

VAT Investigations & Disputes

When HMRC launches an investigation, our VAT services team can guide you through the options that are available and make the process as stress-free as possible.

With our advice, there may be the chance to reduce any VAT liabilities (we recently resolved a £4m VAT assessment, for one of our clients, down to zero), penalties due or to structure a more favourable payment plan if required.

We can also assist in resolving queries or disagreements between suppliers, customers and HMRC.

VAT Registration & De-registration
  • We can advise on voluntary VAT registration, which may increase the VAT amount an individual/ company can claim back, and backdating a VAT registration which may be beneficial in certain industries.
  • VAT deregistration can cause problems if a business has assets on hand at the specified date – we can help with these issues.
VAT Health Check

Is your business ready for a VAT inspection from HMRC?  Are your systems and processes compliant?  Our experienced VAT consultant Tony Nickson can carry out a “mock inspection” to critically review how your business deals with VAT, highlighting areas of concern and identifying opportunities to improve your VAT position.

Partial Exemption Methods & Calculation

This can be complicated, but we can help set these systems up and provide advice on special methods if required.

VAT on Property & Options To Tax

Getting the VAT treatment wrong on a property transaction could be extremely costly, with unexpected bills and potentially substantial penalties.

Consider VAT at an early stage and identify potential VAT savings.

Special VAT schemes

Cash Accounting Scheme, the Flat-Rate Scheme and the Annual Accounting Scheme may all be used to simplify VAT for your company/business.

We are also used to dealing with VAT payments on account for larger businesses.

VAT Planning

We can help you and your business plan for VAT. This can lead to VAT savings in the short/medium term.

Making Tax Digital

We can set you and your business up for making tax digital and provide any software assistance required (i.e. we can submit returns if required on behalf of the company)

For more information please visit our MTD for VAT article.

Our VAT Expertise

VAT is a tax on transactions that is likely to affect the operation of your day-to-day business. Therefore, it is very important for businesses to be compliant with the ever-changing VAT regulations. VAT on services is a complicated area. VAT rates may or may not apply depending on who is providing or buying them, where they are provided and the precise nature of the services provided.

We understand that dealing with HMRC can be time-consuming, so our VAT services alleviate the complications of VAT/Tax and any penalties/interest that may follow.

Our VAT services can help assess any VAT risks to your business that may occur.  One-off transactions, like purchasing a property, can be fraught with VAT dangers and the likely costs/penalties should a transaction be incorrectly accounted for, can be very costly.  Our VAT services experts can help structure any sale/purchase prior to the transaction to alleviate any stress on the business.  It is always wise to seek advice before a purchase/sale rather than after, when HMRC may come calling to check VAT records.

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Case Studies

Hawsons successfully settles £4m VAT case

We successfully reduced the client’s VAT liability from over £4M to zero

Registering a company for VAT. It's easy isn't it?

We have recently had to register a company for VAT after their administration had begun. This was due to the fact they had assumed that their supplies where exempt from VAT, whereas they should have been standard rated. We also calculated the VAT owing to HMRC, which allowed the administration to be completed in a timely manner. In this case, the Effective Date of Registration for VAT was not clear and went back many years, which meant our experience was needed to assess the records and come up with a date that HMRC was comfortable with.


When do I have to register for VAT?

I’m not sure when I need to register for VAT, what help can you give me regarding thresholds?

You must register for VAT if your taxable turnover is more than £85,000. However, it may be in your interest to register for VAT if you do not reach this threshold. There are other limits/thresholds to be aware of, so please contact our VAT services experts who will advise on all matters to do with VAT registration.

You need to register for VAT within 30 days of your business turnover exceeding the threshold. If you register for VAT late, you must pay what you owe from when you should have registered for VAT.

What VAT rates are there?

What VAT rates do I need to pay? Can I be exempt from VAT?

Standard – 20%; Reduced – 5%; Zero – 0%. Some goods/services may be exempt from VAT or outside the scope of VAT. Here at Hawsons, we can provide VAT services to assist our clients with the VAT liability of their supplies.

VAT Rates

Rates depend on conditions such as:

  • who’s providing or buying the goods/services
  • where they’re provided
  • how they’re presented for sale
  • the precise nature of the goods or services
  • whether you obtain the necessary evidence
  • whether you keep the right records
  • whether they’re provided with other goods and services
How can I claim Bad Debt Relief (BDR)?

If your customer has not paid for a supply of goods or services you may be able to claim BDR. Our VAT services experts can help you meet the conditions for claiming BDR.

Bad Debt Relief (BDR)

Various records and evidence must be kept (for four years from the date of claim), in particular, to identify:

  • The time and nature of the supply, the purchaser, and the consideration
  • The amount of VAT chargeable on the supply
  • The accounting period when this VAT was accounted for and paid to HMRC
  • Any payment received for the supply
  • Entries in the refund for bad debts account
  • The accounting period in which the claim is made.
What does Making Tax Digital for VAT, mean for my business?

All VAT-registered businesses are now required to keep digital records and need to use software to submit their VAT return.

How do the new VAT penalties, that are to be introduced on 1 Jan 2023, work in practice?

Late submission penalties will be based on a points system, meaning that those who are mistakenly late with a return/payment will not be hit as severely as serial offenders.

How does an Option to Tax (OTT) affect my commercial property?

Commercial property is usually exempt from VAT. It may be tax efficient for a company to OTT a commercial property. The issue is complicated so please contact our VAT services experts for advice.

What is postponed VAT accounting?

This means that a business accounts for import VAT on their VAT returns, instead of paying at Customs, and is a cashflow benefit to most businesses as input VAT can be claimed on the same return.

How often will I have to submit a VAT return?

Usually, businesses will have to submit a VAT return every 3 months, but can be monthly/annually.  Our VAT services team can help you choose which is best for your business.

Benefits of working with Hawsons

Take time to get to know you, your business and your VAT situation

Experienced and highly knowledgeable

Partner-led service

Contact our experts for a free initial meeting

Stephen Charles

Tax Partner, Sheffield

VAT News

Tax Rates and Allowances 2023/24

Introduction We have summarised the key rates and allowances which are fundamental to our business and personal lives. We are sure that you will find them a useful point of reference and have set out below a few examples of how they can be used. Personal tax rates As...

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VAT Recovery on Aircraft

We have helped a number of businesses and individuals with the purchase of aircraft determining the best way to make the purchase in order to recover the VAT and to manage personal and corporate taxes. It’s fair to say HMRC can be skeptical about the position, but...

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