Produced by Tolley
  • 25 Nov 2021 12:30

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

  • Assessments
  • When will HMRC issue an assessment?
  • Power to assess
  • Time limits
  • Four-year and 20-year rules
  • Deceased person
  • Long first period return assessments
  • Raising other assessments
  • Assessments for penalties, interest and surcharges
  • Time limits
  • More...


This guidance note provides an overview of the types of situations where HMRC may issue an assessment to a VAT registered business. This note predominately deals with assessments issued on or after 1 April 2010. It should be read in conjunction with the following guidance notes:

  1. Default surcharge

  2. Correcting errors

  3. Crown debts and demands for VAT

  4. Paying VAT

This guidance note can also be used in conjunction with the Checklists - VAT assessments document.

When will HMRC issue an assessment?

VAT registered businesses have a legal obligation to submit their VAT returns and payments within specified time limits (due date). If the returns are not submitted or not received within the time limits or the returns submitted contain errors, HMRC has the power to raise an assessment, to the best of its judgement, to the business in order to collect the VAT due. Please see the Best judgement guidance note for more information.

The principal aim of assessments is to enable HMRC to establish a legally enforceable debt which can then be pursued as a debt due to the Crown.

An assessment can be issued in the following circumstances:

  1. where a VAT return is missing, incorrect or incomplete

  2. where a business has failed to render a return

  3. where an earlier prime assessment is considered to have been too low

  4. from 1 January 2015 where returns have not been made to the tax authorities in other EU member states in relation to supplies of broadcasting, telecommunication and electronic services to consumers in the UK.

Access this article and thousands of others like it
free for 7 days with a trial of TolleyGuidance.

Think Tax.
Think Tolley.

Critical, comprehensive and up-to-date tax information


Popular Articles

Capital vs revenue expenditure

Capital vs revenue expenditureExpenditure of a capital nature is not allowed as a deduction when calculating trading profits. Expenditure of a revenue nature is allowable, provided there is no specific statutory rule prohibiting a deduction and the expenditure also satisfies the wholly and

25 Oct 2021 07:01 | Produced by Tolley Read more Read more

Accumulation and maintenance trusts

What is an accumulation and maintenance trust?An accumulation and maintenance (A&M) trust is a particular type of settlement intended to make provisions for children and young adults up to the age of 25. The key feature is that trustees are given discretion over how to use the income for the benefit

22 Dec 2021 18:40 | Produced by Tolley Read more Read more

Indexation allowance and rebasing

This guidance note explains the general rules surrounding the availability of indexation allowance on the disposal of company assets and provides information on the rebasing rules for assets held on 31 March 1982. For an overview of the general position regarding company disposals, please refer to

19 Oct 2021 22:59 | Produced by Tolley in association with Jackie Barker of Wells Associates Read more Read more