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VAT and Customs Duty Services

VAT is a notoriously complicated tax; more frequent inspections and a harsher penalty regime introduced recently mean the risks it brings have never been higher. We understand that as VAT is a transaction based tax, our clients usually demand a quick answer.

Our VAT specialists make it their business to know enough about yours so that they can anticipate opportunities and problems, and act quickly to deliver a solution, leaving you to get on with your business.


  • We can consider any VAT issues that might arise from your prospective business plans to make sure that VAT does not compromise these arrangements.
  • We can use our technical knowledge and experience to provide advice on specific high-value transactions including the acquisition or sale of a business or a property.
  • We can provide a comprehensive VAT review to enable your business to take a pro-active approach to its VAT affairs.
  • We can advise how to legitimately maximise VAT recovery on costs without the use of high risk, artificial schemes.
  • James Cowper Kreston is part of the Kreston International network which puts us in an ideal position to advise your business on the VAT implications of cross border transactions.
  • Our VAT team has strong project management skills, which allow us to provide co-ordinated advice across all UK corporate taxes, to help you identify the key issues and risks.

Particular issues/strategic decisions  

  • Cash accounting or accrual/invoice accounting
  • VAT grouping or stand-alone registrations
  • Voluntary VAT registration where taxable turnover is below the threshold
  • Flat rate scheme or standard VAT accounting
  • Separate trading subsidiary for charities/not-for-profit business
  • Advantages and disadvantages of opting to tax land or property.

Practical assistance

Prepare and submit to HMRC

  • VAT registration or deregistration application
  • VAT return
  • Amendment to existing group registration
  • MOSS registration and return
  • EU Sales List
  • Intrastat supplementary declaration
  • Error correction
  • Complaint about HMRC conduct
  • Non-statutory clearance request
  • Partial exemption special method
  • Business/non-business apportionment
  • Election to waive exemption
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) application

Audits and investigations by HMRC

  • Where a difficult VAT matter arises we can negotiate with HMRC on your behalf.
  • Our team is available to help you on the day of a VAT inspection to assist with any questions raised by HMRC.
  • We can perform a risk assessment of the VAT position prior to an HMRC visit and advise on how to deal with any problems this highlights.
  • If HMRC issues an assessment, liabilities can often be avoided or mitigated by involving a VAT specialist at an early stage.

Customs Duty and International Trade services

We are able to use our experience to advise on

  • import and export procedures
  • duty deferment
  • EORI applications
  • Temporary import reliefs
  • Low value bulked imports (LVBI)
  • the potential impact of Brexit upon your international sales and purchases.
  • HMRC import valuation inspections.
  • Classification of goods, by reference to our third party/external specialists