VAT visits and inspections

VAT officers can visit your business to inspect your VAT records and make sure you are paying or reclaiming the right amount of VAT. 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) usually contact you to arrange a visit. 

They normally give you seven days notice. They will confirm what information they will want to see, how long it is likely to take and if they want to inspect your premises. You can ask them to delay the visit. 

HMRC can also visit without an appointment and telephone you about your VAT. 

How often checks happen 

How often you get a visit depends on: 

  • how big or complex your business is 
  • whether you have submitted late or incorrect VAT Returns before 

During the visit 

HMRC will work with you to put right any problems with your VAT. They will also tell you about any additional tax and penalty you have to pay. 

Helping them with the check will reduce the amount of any penalty. 

After the visit 

Afterwards, HMRC will write to you confirming: 

  • what you must do to improve your VAT record keeping 
  • any corrections you must make to your VAT account 
  • if you are overpaying or underpaying your VAT 
  • any penalty you have to pay 

You can appeal an HMRC decision (external link) but you must do it within 30 days. 

Further information on VAT visits and inspections (external link) can be found on GOV.UKs website.