Charity with multiple trading subsidiaries – £26m turnover & 324 employees.
When our client appointed a new finance director recently, part of his initial fact-find was to consider the VAT profile of the group. Given its complexity, including partial exemption, and that VAT had not been examined in any detail for several years, we discussed how a VAT healthcheck could scope out the VAT risks and opportunities for the group.
Our initial meeting was one of our first face-to-face meetings post-pandemic and involved a couple of hours of detailed discussions establishing the VAT profile of the businesses. Some areas were unclear and further detail was gathered. Based on our discussions, we drew up an action plan of key issues to be dealt with – which included confirming the treatment of supplies of services overseas, considering applying for a partial exemption special method to take into account the impact of the pandemic, ensuring VAT Capital Goods Scheme calculations were carried out and considering a retrospective claim for VAT recoverable on fuel.
The Action Plan approach has meant that the client is engaged in ensuring VAT compliance is strong (useful in ensuring any HMRC enquiry avoids potential penalties) but also in ensuring VAT accounting is efficient and ensures the charity is in the best financial position in relation to VAT.
We’ve agreed to follow up the action plan to ensure the client follows the points through and they appreciate this push, given it ensures the work undertaken is not undermined by leaving matters outstanding. They have also given feedback that the healthcheck approach was a really useful exercise to quickly identify VAT ‘hot-spots’ which then encouraged remedial actions to ensure VAT efficiency.