VAT repayments – Be vigilant

There are increasing reports that criminals are attempting to defraud businesses that regularly receive VAT refunds by exploiting weaknesses in HM Revenue & Custom’s (HMRC’s) own systems.

It is understood that criminals are submitting VAT 484 forms to amend the bank account details of businesses that regularly receive repayments of VAT (usually those businesses which make zero-rated supplies – such as exporters).

Although HMRC write to the taxpayers to state that their bank account details have changed, there is often a delay in receiving this correspondence and it is possible that any payment will then be diverted to the criminal’s new account.

If you receive a letter from HMRC stating that your business bank account details have been changed, which you were not expecting, then please seek advice.

Further, if your business experiences an unexpected delay in the repayment of its VAT then you should check your Government Gateway Account to ensure the bank account details that HMRC have on file are accurate.

If the bank details are different to what you expect, then immediate professional advice should be sought.

If the bank details are correct, then it may be that the VAT return has been selected for a ‘pre-cred’ enquiry by HMRC to check that the refund is appropriate.

For more information and to contact our specialist VAT team click here.

Posted in News, Scams, Tax, VAT.