Anti-avoidance ― joint and several liability for VAT

Produced by Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Anti-avoidance ― joint and several liability for VAT
  • Background
  • What goods are subject to the joint and several liability provisions?
  • Exceptions
  • When could a person become joint and severally liable?
  • What is the net tax unpaid?
  • What steps can a business take to avoid becoming subject to a joint and several liability notice?
  • When will HMRC serve a notice of joint and several liability?
  • What is ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’?
  • Impact of the reverse charge for mobile phones and computer chips
  • More...

Anti-avoidance ― joint and several liability for VAT

This guidance note provides an overview of when a business could become liable for VAT under the joint and several liability provisions.

Background

Under the anti-avoidance provisions, HMRC has introduced joint and several liability under which the customer can be held liable to pay the VAT that should have been paid by the seller. This provision only applies where there is a supply of goods and services where there is widespread fraud that commonly involves missing trader VAT fraud.

As missing trader VAT fraud generally involves the wholesale of the specified goods and their removal from the UK, it is highly unlikely that manufacturers or retail suppliers of the specified goods will be affected by these rules.

What goods are subject to the joint and several liability provisions?

According to HMRC guidance, the following goods are subject to the joint and several liability provisions:

  1. telephones and any other equipment, including parts and accessories, made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunications

  2. computers and any other equipment, including parts, accessories and software, made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems

  3. equipment made or adapted for use as a telephone and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with telephones or telecommunication

  4. equipment made or adapted for use as a computer and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with computers or computer systems (including, in particular, positional determination devices for use with satellite navigation systems, that is, SATNAVs)

  5. other electronic equipment made or adapted for use by individuals for the purposes of leisure, amusement or entertainment and any other equipment made or adapted for use in connection with any such electronic equipment. This includes digital cameras, camcorders and other portable electronic devices for playing music and games such as iPods, hand-held or portable DVD players, Playstation Portables (PSPs)

VAT notice 726, para 1.4

The term ‘other equipment’ includes parts, accessories and

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