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Problems with import VAT statements


Published: 06 Apr 2021 Update History

Some importers have experienced issues with access to and the accuracy of their monthly statements for January and February 2021. HMRC has confirmed it will not charge a penalty for errors in VAT returns provided taxpayers take reasonable care and follow guidance.

The reintroduction of postponed accounting for import VAT from 1 January 2021 changed the way that businesses importing goods reflect import VAT on their monthly or quarterly VAT returns.

The information to make the required entries on their VAT return should be obtained from any customs entries the business has made in its own records and copies of monthly postponed import VAT statement.

However, some importers have been experiencing issues accessing their monthly import VAT statement and HMRC is also aware of issues with the accuracy of January 2021 and February 2021 statements.

Where a business cannot access their statements but needs to complete their VAT return, HMRC has stated that the business can estimate the import VAT figures for those months.

The estimate should be as accurate as possible, based on the amount paid for the goods and any other costs (for example, packaging, transport, and insurance).

The estimate can also include customs duties due on the goods but does not have to. Any adjustment between the estimate and the actual figures must be accounted for on the next VAT return.

Where a business has problems with the accuracy of the import VAT statements, provided the business has taken reasonable care to follow HMRC’s guidance about how to complete their VAT return if they have problems with their monthly statements, but makes an error when completing their VAT return, HMRC has confirmed there will be no penalty.

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