The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:
In addition to the requirements laid down in the Exporting goods ― overview guidance note, businesses intending to zero-rate exported goods must hold satisfactory evidence that the goods have been delivered to a destination outside of the UK. If satisfactory evidence is not obtained, then the supply cannot be zero-rated. Businesses that zero-rate supplies without obtaining the necessary export evidence may be subject to assessments for the VAT due, interest and potentially a penalty as well.
For in-depth commentary on the legislation and case law relating to proof of export, see De Voil Indirect Tax Service V4.302.
HMRC talks about three broad kinds of proof of export, namely:
commercial transport evidence
Notice 703, para 6.1; VEXP30400
To zero-rate an export, a business must hold official evidence and / or commercial transport evidence. Both have equal weight so one or the other should be acceptable. In addition, this should be supported by ‘supplementary’ evidence which is typically evidence that a business would expect to hold irrespective of its VAT obligations.
The different kinds of evidence are explored further below.
The evidence obtained as proof of export, whether official, commercial or supporting, must clearly identify:
the consignor (where different from the supplier)
an accurate value
the export destination, and
the mode of transport and route of the export movement
Notice 703, para 6.5
Vague descriptions of the goods and the value of those goods will not be accepted by HMRC and failure to provide satisfactory proof of export will result in the shipment becoming liable to VAT.
These are documents that are issued by HMRC and include:
Goods Departed Messages (GDM) generated by National Export System (NES)
Single Administrative Documents (SAD) endorsed by HMRC at the time the goods were exported
confirmation of the electronic discharge of an NCTS movement
VEXP30400; Notice 703, para 6.5
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