This guidance replaces HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) Code of Practice 10 (COP 10) and VAT Notice 700/6: VAT Rulings.
It tells you about the service offered by HMRC to:
You can find guidance on other services available from HMRC on our Clearances and Approvals page Clearances and Approvals.
Before you write you should have first considered HMRC’s guidance to see if this answers your question. This can be found in the Library section HMRC Library.
On this page:
If you are a non-business customer or have a query which is not about a business activity and:
you can ask HMRC for further guidance or their view of how recently passed tax legislation applies to your transaction.
If your query is about a matter other than the interpretation of recent tax legislation HMRC will still provide a suitable response, such as pointing you to the relevant online guidance.
If you ask for a view and HMRC does not provide it, they will tell you why.
To help you decide what information is relevant to your application when you write to HMRC you should use:
HMRC asks for this information to ensure that they understand the background to your request and where your uncertainty lies. This helps to process your application more quickly.
When you write to HMRC you must be satisfied that the information you give is, to the best of your knowledge and belief, accurate and correct.
There is no single point of contact to which applications can be sent given the very wide range of tax regimes covered by this service and the number of applications received.
If you have an existing point of contact within HMRC, for example a Customer Manager or your HMRC office, or are already in contact with HMRC, you should address your application to the contact address with which you have been provided.
In all other cases, you can find contact details and postal addresses for specialist departments or any other part of HMRC in the link below
If you are applying for advance assurance that an investment meets the requirement of Business Investment Relief, you should address your application to the contact address in the checklist at Annex B (PDF 29K).
HMRC will usually reply within 28 days. Where difficult or complicated issues are involved it may take longer to reply. If this is the case, HMRC will acknowledge your request and tell you when you can expect a full reply.
Sometimes HMRC may need to ask you to provide more information before they can send you a full reply. If so, they will suspend the handling time for your application until you are able to provide them with the additional information that they have requested. HMRC may wish to contact you by telephone for clarification, so it helps if you can provide a contact number.
HMRC's view does not affect the date by which you have to pay your tax or send in returns. You may have to pay interest and late payment penalties on any tax that you pay late, for whatever reason.
If you made your request after a transaction has taken place, but have not received a reply by the time your return is due to be submitted, then you should still send your completed return in on time. If you send HMRC your return on time you will not be liable to penalties for failing to make a return. When you receive HMRC's view you can, if necessary, amend your tax return or make a disclosure as long as you are within the normal time limits to do so.
If you are seeking advance assurance that a proposed investment will meet
the requirements of Business Investment Relief, the time limit within which
qualifying investment needs to be made remains unaffected.
If you disagree with HMRC's view of your transaction and complete your return in accordance with your own view of the proper tax treatment, then you may not have paid the right amount of tax at the right time. In such circumstances, if your return contains a careless or deliberate error which results in a loss of tax or an inflated claim to repayment of tax, then you may be liable to penalties.
Provided the information you have supplied is accurate and complete, and you carry out the proposed transactions exactly as you describe them, you will generally be able to rely on HMRC's view. For more information, see the link below:
HMRC aim to give you a clear reply to your questions; they recognise that sometimes you may not agree with what they say, or you may not be happy with the service they have provided.
There is no general right of appeal against a view expressed by HMRC, except where rights to appeal are set out in statute. Rather, appeal rights are usually against decisions HMRC take, such as the decision to issue an assessment for underpaid tax or a penalty.
However, some VAT related decisions are classed as 'appealable decisions' by statute. The letter HMRC send you will explain whether you are able to appeal and tell you what to do if you disagree with a VAT decision.