VAT services for professionals

Our VAT specialists offer a range of services for accountants, lawyers, insolvency practitioners and other professionals



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Do you have clients with complicated (one-off) VAT matters?


At Hawsons we offer a specialist confidential VAT outsourcing service and we can assist with complicated VAT matters on behalf of your clients.


Is your client under investigation or in a dispute with HMRC?

Our VAT experts can guide your client through the options that are available and make the process as stress-free as possible.

Does your client require a VAT Health Check?

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

Does your client need VAT advice on a property transaction?

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

Our VAT Services

VAT Investigations & Disputes

When HMRC launch an investigation, our VAT experts can guide your client 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 and customers and HMRC.

VAT Registration & De-registration

We can advise your clients on voluntary VAT registration, which may increase the VAT amount an individual/ company can claim back, and back dating 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 client ready for a VAT inspection from HMRC?  Are their systems and processes compliant?  Our experienced VAT consultant Tony Nickson can carry out a “mock inspection” to critically review how your client deals with VAT, highlighting areas of concern and identifying opportunities to improve your client’s VAT position.

Partial Exemption Methods & Calculation

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

VAT on Property & Options To Tax

If your client’s VAT treatment is wrong on a property transaction it 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 clients  company/business.

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

VAT planning

We can help you to enhance the quality and breadth of the service you offer clients.

This can lead to VAT savings in the short/medium term.

Making Tax Digital

We can set clients 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.

Why should I outsource to Hawsons?

Take time to get to know your client and their VAT situation


Dedicated VAT expert with over 20 years of VAT expertise


Confidentiality – your client would not know that we assisted

Our VAT Expertise

VAT is a tax on transactions which 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 Hawsons can help alleviate the complications of VAT/Tax and any penalties/interest that may follow.

At Hawsons we 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.  Hawsons 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.

Our VAT consultant has over 20 years of experience with HMRC.


What do my clients need to look out for?

Commercial property transactions can be very expensive to unravel once complete, as they are high value transactions and so are the penalties/interest charged.

VAT tribunals are constantly updating case law which means that what was standard practice for years, may have been amended. These cases are not always publicised and companies can be caught out – an example is the cancelling of HMRC’s VAT concession on disbursements in the legal sector.

Case Studies

VAT Consultant Tony Nickson successfully settles £4m VAT case

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


When does my client 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/threshold to be aware of, so please contact Hawsons who will advise on all matters to do with VAT registration.

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 help out 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) for my client?

If your customer has not paid for a supply of goods or services you may be able to claim BDR. Hawsons 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 clients business?

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

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 client's 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 Hawsons 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 does my client have to submit a VAT return?

Usually every 3 months, but can be monthly/annually.  Hawsons can help you choose which is best for your business.

Contact our experts for a free initial meeting

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Tony Nickson

VAT Consultant

Stephen Charles

Tax Partner

Craig Walker

Tax Director

Aaron Hemmington

Tax Partner

VAT News

New VAT Penalties coming from 1 January 2023

What are the new VAT penalties? From 1st January 2023 a new penalty-based points system will be introduced for all VAT returns that are submitted late or the payment is late. This new system will replace the current default Surcharge. Nil or repayment returns that are...

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Tax Rates and Allowances 2022/23

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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