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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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I make purchases from a major online retailer. My VAT quarter

Customer Question

I make purchases from a major online retailer. My VAT quarter now requires me to obtain VAT invoices which is not a problem with any of my other suppliers. They were either sent with the goods or I can download from my account on their website.
This particular retailer refuses to make the invoices available after 30 days has passed since the purchase.
Their letter to me states:-
"Dear Mr Hogg,
Thank you for your letter asking for a VAT receipt for some orders you placed in Feb.
I must advise you that what youv’e been told (by us) is correct. We are unable to issue any VAT receipts after 30 days from the purchase date.
The guidelines from HMRC state that the deadline for sending VAT receipts is 30 days after the purchase date. We (the supplier) have contacted HMRC and been told that we are not legally permitted to comply with a customers request for VAT invoices after 30 days."
I cannot believe that "not legally permitted" is correct
They quote VAT notice 700 paragraphs 16.2 and 16.2.3 which I have read over and over and cannot arrive at their translation.
Please advise.
Paul Hogg
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 1 year ago.
Hello Paul, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question. Your supplier is talking utter poppycock. If they are registered for VAT then they must supply a VAT invoice, which you can use to support your claim to recover input tax. If, however, they are not registered for the tax then the need to supply no such invoice. You should report their antics to HMRC as there may be tax evasion being covered up here. Having said that I am aware that HMRC do not tent to be interested in such cases. There is an alternative, you are out of pocket to the tune on VAT you have not been able to recover. Take an action in the Small Claims Court for recovery. That should concentrate their minds wonderfully. I was involved in dealings with a company which was a household name who simply refused to pay an invoice until the bailiffs arrived at their Head Office and started seizing their computer system when suddenly the moneys became available from petty cash! I do hope that I have shown you a way forward in this matter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
CustomerThe company is Tesco. They have been instructed that VAT 700 notice specifies "A VAT invoice MUST NOT be issued more than 30 days after the tax point
I have just noticed that I can attach a file so I have attached Tescos full letter.
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 1 year ago.
So why did they not issue one in the first place? Failing to issue a VAT invoice on supply is a breach of the principles of VAT. Just sue them in the small claims court for the loss that you have entailed as a result of their negligence. There are no costs awarded there and it will cost TESCO 4 figures to defend and should concentrate their minds wonderfully.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will possibly talk to again later...going to work now.
Have a good day
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 1 year ago.
Right, got it!
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 1 year ago.
On sober reflection, the following points come to mind. When you first bought these items did TESCO not issue a VAT invoice or receipt? If you paid what you thought was VAT on their bill then they could be pocketing the money, clear tax evasion. In any event it can be assumed that for a firm the size of TESCO that VAT is included and you can use their bill stripping out the 20% VAT to support your input tax reclaim. Secondly,irrespective of the mealy mouthed approach in their letter, they can issue a copy VAT invoice at any time.