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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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I haven't traded as a company since Jan 2014 but got an HMRC

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I haven't traded as a company since Jan 2014 but got an HMRC estimation of my vat due in November, I presumed that this was a mistake and ignored it, but yesterday an HMRC debt management field officer visited my house (where my ltd company is registered) to "discuss things" he left a message on my mobile about it.
The company is currently in the process of being struck off as it hasn't traded for so long and has no funds to sort out accounts or anything and the first notice has gone out, however I don't want HMRC to object to it as I just want the company shut down!
I need to speak to HMRC today about the VAT and the fact I've not traded, but I'm not sure how I can prove to them that I haven't traded? What can I do or say to them?
Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.
My personal advice is never, ever, any circumstances whatsoever, speak to HMRC. Always put it in writing. With verbal communications there is always the danger of the other side getting hold of the wrong end of the stick, if they can even find the stick at all.
So do not speak, put what you company has done trading wise in a letter to HMRC, including therein an appeal against their estimation of VAT due. There is no requirement to prove to their staff that your company has not traded; it is for HMRC to prove that your company has traded. In fact their estimate is simply a guess, an assumption. In my experience HMRC staff are very good at making assumptions, invariably incorrect and always in the Revenue's favour.
Just stick to your guns and refute any allegations made by HMRC, but do it in writing.
I do hope I have shown you a way out of your conundrum.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the quick answer, I don't want the HMRC officer to visit my house again though, I've three autistic children with differing levels of need so don't want that hassle for my wife at all. Should I speak to him to tell him I will be writing to them?

One thing I can't work out is why they can't just see all this from my VAT number, do they not have access to that information from that?

I will accept that you can communicate that decision and its reason to HMRC, but I would still do so by letter. I can well understand your concern. In the old days of VAT Inspections I once had an Inspector demand to see the voucher for 13 pence, yes 13p, of input tax reclaimed! Having mentioned that I may say I have always found the VAT personnel most helpful when contacted with odd inquiries.
It may be that you have missed quarterly VAT returns. However, HMRC usually call them up if not rendered, but if you have then get them in on line pronto. It may be adviseable to de-register for VAT if registration is no longer required. That would stop a lot of hassle.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK - thanks but it's not got to the nub of it for me, can I just ask HMRC to review my VAT number to see what trading has been done?

I'm concerned that I say that I've not traded, they say prove it, and I can't because you can't prove a negative !

You are right, I have missed returns for some time, because I thought the company was not trading/deregistered.

Happy to rate you for payment, just want to get real clear on what to say!

Your course of action is clear. Make the missing returns. Then de-register the company.
If they say 'prove it,' then merely decline telling them the company has not traded and tell them to prove to the contrary. HMRC will then have to fall back on guessing, easily refuted and not solid ground for making assessments.
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