V7.259 Evidence of exportation
HMRC is very specific about the type of evidence it requires to support export sales, a position that is confirmed by the legislation on this subject.
Evidence may consist either of official evidence such as a Single Administrative Document (SAD) (eg Form C88 stamped by Customs) or commercial evidence concerning the transaction – the latter is more usual.
All documents retained as evidence of export must give the following details:
• the identity of both the exporter and the customer
• the destination of the goods must be clearly given and the method of transportation
• identification of the goods themselves
Commercial evidence of export will either be primary evidence, eg authentication documents issued by shipping lines, air lines, railway companies etc or secondary evidence, eg documentation issued by freight forwarders exporting on behalf of a number of exporters and who will themselves obtain and retain the primary evidence.
For exports by sea, exporters should obtain a copy of the bill of lading or sea waybill. If the export process is by air, then an air waybill is required. In export methods falling outside the norm, HMRC Notice 703 should be consulted regarding the appropriate evidence in most cases.
Evidence concerning proof of export to support zero-rating should be retained by a business for six years as part of its business records.
The time of supply of exported goods is usually the earlier of the date when the supplier sends the goods to the customer or when the customer collects the goods