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VAT and Customs Duty services

Leading you away from problems and towards opportunities.
Brexit: Prepare for the new start
Helping businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period.
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News for the International Trade industry

A number of changes have impacted the industry, creating a huge amount of uncertainty and extremely difficult trading conditions for UK importers and exporters, our newsletter explores some of these issues. 

Governments across the world are embracing a shift from direct to indirect taxation with an increase in the number of countries operating VAT and a general rise in the standard rates of VAT. Similarly, the terms of international trade and the impact of customs tariffs is currently high profile and increasingly complex. We are also seeing a rise in the number of disputes with HMRC having to be resolved via litigation. Getting it right can save you money, getting it wrong can be very costly. With the ever-widening scope of VAT and Customs and Excise duties, developing regulations and case law governing it and the onerous demands of HMRC, indirect tax is notoriously complicated.

Whether you are a multinational company, a non profit organisation or a sole-trader, our VAT specialists are able to provide comprehensive practical advice. We are proud that much of our new work comes from client referrals, and we know that we have succeeded when a client says to us 'that’s the first time we’ve understood VAT'.

How we add value
HMRC dispute resolution   
Administration and compliance
Dealing with change
Simplifying the complicated
International VAT and Customs Duty
HMRC dispute resolution   

Our group of specialists are equipped to help you resolve disputes with HMRC. If you have received a challenge or unfavourable decision from HMRC on VAT, Customs or Excise Duty, we can help you with our practical and commercial approach to settling disputes.

Many of our team are ex-HMRC employees, or have a legal background and can support you through the various stages in responding to an HMRC dispute, up to and including the last resort of appealing to the tax tribunal. Many of our client’s cases are resolved well before this final stage though.

Administration and compliance

For organisations involved in UK trade there is likely to be an obligation to register for UK VAT. We can assist with registering for VAT and also with other VAT administration such as setting-up VAT groups, options to tax, applying to use the VAT Flat Rate scheme or deregistering from VAT.

Once VAT registered, companies are obliged to compile and submit periodic VAT returns and possibly additional compliance returns such as Intrastat and European Sales Lists. We have a significant number of clients who we assist in preparing and submitting their period VAT compliance submissions. Our involvement gives our clients reassurance that they are complying with their UK VAT obligations and reduces their risk of receiving financial penalties for non-compliance.

We also support clients with setting up importer ID numbers (EORI), duty deferment accounts, Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) applications and with customs duty regimes such as Customs Warehousing, Inward Processing Relief and Returned Goods Relief.

Dealing with change

As VAT and Customs Duty are transactional taxes, any changes to your activities or organisational structure is likely to lead to a change in how you account for VAT/ Duty. For example, this could be an expansion into new markets that require overseas VAT registration or it could be a new product offering and you need to know what rate of VAT should be charged and how the product will be classified for Customs Duty purposes. We work with our clients to understand the changes and to advise on both how to comply with the rules and to optimise their position.

In-depth knowledge of the application of VAT to your industry allows us to deal promptly with your enquiries and to ensure your VAT position is maximised. We are regularly asked to present for regulators such as the Charity Finance Group, ICAEW, Independent Schools’ Bursars Association, and Charity Tax Group and we have also spoken at events for organisations such as the British Ports Association and the Department for International Trade.

Simplifying the complicated

We consider the VAT and Customs Duty issues that might arise from your business implications are known. In providing our consulting services, we regularly deal with finance and non-finance staff, so we are used to translating complex VAT and Customs regulations into plain English.

We place great importance on keeping ourselves and you fully abreast of statutory HMRC policy. We proactively identify and communicate new developments and opportunities both to save you VAT and Customs Duty and avoid unexpected costs and potential penalties.

International VAT and Customs Duty

Customs Duties vary according to the type of goods, their classification and origin, and as they are an irrecoverable cost they can have a direct impact on your margins. The same is true for Excise Duties charged on products such as alcohol, tobacco and hydrocarbon fuels. Equally, when importing goods, unforeseen delays in getting your goods declared and processed by customs can have significant repercussions.

Crowe UK is a member of a global network of Crowe entities. As a result, you may be a UK company engaged in e-commerce selling into overseas markets for the first time, or an established multi-national business with presence in a number of countries; via our international network we have the capability to help.

Webinars - ensuring you stay on top of the ever-changing VAT laws and regulations.

Brexit preparations: are you ready?
Aimed at businesses involved with the cross-border trade in goods, an overview of ‘what we know so far’ and ‘what is still to be resolved’ in relation to the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.
VAT cashflow planning
Looking at some of the UK VAT good 'housekeeping' items which could help your cash position, e.g. VAT Bad Debt relief, input VAT accruals, import VAT reclaims and more.
VAT bitesize webinars 
Designed to bring some certainty regarding your VAT position during these uncertain times, while supporting your team when many will be working remotely.
VAT treatment of disbursements
 Following the Brabners case, we look at the Court of Appeal's decision and the technical position, what it could mean for firms and the practical actions to take.
Charity VAT update
Keeping you abreast of the latest VAT news affecting charities and Non Profit bodies, including some positive updates on Making Tax Digital for VAT, cashflow, and other crucial issues. 
Changes to VAT rules for EU trade in goods
Covering a number changes to EU VAT law that UK businesses may not be aware took effect from 1 January 2020.
Back to Basics: VAT for Housing Associations
Our series of six short webinars provide you with insight into some of the key VAT concepts for housing associations. 
Housing Associations: VAT exemption for cost sharing 
What do the new rules mean for housings associations and how you can reduce costs for all parties. 
Social Housing VAT update
Our update examines the key VAT developments in the last 18 months that affect the sector, and how providers of social housing can prepare for the changes ahead.
Making Tax Digital for VAT 2020
 Providing you with the additional MTD rules, and what you need to do to be ready for the impending deadlines in 2020.
VAT update for Schools
Providing you with practical insight into the VAT issues faced by schools e.g. 20% vat to school fees, supplies of school property, vat consequences, overseas agents and more.
VAT update for Schools
Practical insights facing schools, covering Making Tax Digital, school fees, school lets, common VAT errors, VAT registration and VAT consequences of setting up foreign schools. 
Students' Unions VAT update
An update on the latest VAT news and challenges, and what to look out for to try and save money during these difficult times.
Students' Unions: HMRC challenge to exempt fundraising
Covering the background, why the case lost, past events treated as exempt, current/future events you run and VAT news affecting you.
Students' Unions: HMRC challenge to exempt catering
HMRC appears to be going after Unions by categorising catering outlets as 'bars', we look at the arguments; how to try and defend your position.
VAT for Section 33 Bodies
An overview of the main issues on The VAT rules in VAT Act Section 33 covering Academies, Air Ambulances and Hospices are still relatively new for the sectors.
VAT saving in the welfare sector
Assisting organisations within the welfare sector to significantly increase VAT recovery in relation to their core services to Local Authorities and NHS Trusts.
Trade Union VAT update
Providing clarity to your VAT position, taking you through the must-do actions on compliance issues / potential opportunities.
Housing Associations: Making Tax Digital 2019
Incorporating all of the new information that has been issued by HMRC. Focusing on the issues that HAs are facing getting their records ready for MTD.
Making Tax Digital 2019
Taking you through the must-do actions, as well as providing practical examples and advice on meeting the imminent challenges of MTD.
Charity VAT reliefs
Focusing on where VAT is not chargeable on charity costs and maximising the reliefs available and details where work on property can be relieved of VAT.
Charity VAT update 
Providing all of the latest tribunal judgements from HMRC which affect charities and non profit bodies along with Making Tax Digital for VAT and Brexit.
Brexit preparations: are you ready?
Aimed at businesses involved with the cross-border trade in goods, an overview of ‘what we know so far’ and ‘what is still to be resolved’ in relation to the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.
VAT cashflow planning
Looking at some of the UK VAT good 'housekeeping' items which could help your cash position, e.g. VAT Bad Debt relief, input VAT accruals, import VAT reclaims and more.
VAT bitesize webinars 
Designed to bring some certainty regarding your VAT position during these uncertain times, while supporting your team when many will be working remotely.
VAT treatment of disbursements
 Following the Brabners case, we look at the Court of Appeal's decision and the technical position, what it could mean for firms and the practical actions to take.
Charity VAT update
Keeping you abreast of the latest VAT news affecting charities and Non Profit bodies, including some positive updates on Making Tax Digital for VAT, cashflow, and other crucial issues. 
Changes to VAT rules for EU trade in goods
Covering a number changes to EU VAT law that UK businesses may not be aware took effect from 1 January 2020.
Back to Basics: VAT for Housing Associations
Our series of six short webinars provide you with insight into some of the key VAT concepts for housing associations. 
Housing Associations: VAT exemption for cost sharing 
What do the new rules mean for housings associations and how you can reduce costs for all parties. 
Social Housing VAT update
Our update examines the key VAT developments in the last 18 months that affect the sector, and how providers of social housing can prepare for the changes ahead.
Making Tax Digital for VAT 2020
 Providing you with the additional MTD rules, and what you need to do to be ready for the impending deadlines in 2020.
VAT update for Schools
Providing you with practical insight into the VAT issues faced by schools e.g. 20% vat to school fees, supplies of school property, vat consequences, overseas agents and more.
VAT update for Schools
Practical insights facing schools, covering Making Tax Digital, school fees, school lets, common VAT errors, VAT registration and VAT consequences of setting up foreign schools. 
Students' Unions VAT update
An update on the latest VAT news and challenges, and what to look out for to try and save money during these difficult times.
Students' Unions: HMRC challenge to exempt fundraising
Covering the background, why the case lost, past events treated as exempt, current/future events you run and VAT news affecting you.
Students' Unions: HMRC challenge to exempt catering
HMRC appears to be going after Unions by categorising catering outlets as 'bars', we look at the arguments; how to try and defend your position.
VAT for Section 33 Bodies
An overview of the main issues on The VAT rules in VAT Act Section 33 covering Academies, Air Ambulances and Hospices are still relatively new for the sectors.
VAT saving in the welfare sector
Assisting organisations within the welfare sector to significantly increase VAT recovery in relation to their core services to Local Authorities and NHS Trusts.
Trade Union VAT update
Providing clarity to your VAT position, taking you through the must-do actions on compliance issues / potential opportunities.
Housing Associations: Making Tax Digital 2019
Incorporating all of the new information that has been issued by HMRC. Focusing on the issues that HAs are facing getting their records ready for MTD.
Making Tax Digital 2019
Taking you through the must-do actions, as well as providing practical examples and advice on meeting the imminent challenges of MTD.
Charity VAT reliefs
Focusing on where VAT is not chargeable on charity costs and maximising the reliefs available and details where work on property can be relieved of VAT.
Charity VAT update 
Providing all of the latest tribunal judgements from HMRC which affect charities and non profit bodies along with Making Tax Digital for VAT and Brexit.

Insights and news

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Title Published Service Industry
30/10/2020
VAT
International Trade
23/10/2020
VAT
International Trade
20/10/2020
VAT
Employment Tax
Property and Construction
12/10/2020
VAT
Non Profits
12/10/2020
VAT
Social Housing
09/10/2020
VAT
01/10/2020
VAT
Corporates
24/09/2020
VAT
Our team
Our team has intimate knowledge of HMRC, not only because all our team members are previous HMRC employees, but because we
liaise daily with the organisations that deal with your indirect tax responsibilities. Our in-depth knowledge of the application of VAT and
Customs duties to your industry allows us to deal promptly with your enquiries and to ensure your VAT and Customs duty position is optimised.

We are regularly asked to present for regulators such as Charity Finance Group, ICAEW, ISBA, and Charity Tax Group. We also host VAT Practitioner Group meetings, are part of a technical VAT Committee, and chair the Trade Unions Finance Officers Committee. We have also spoken at events for organisations such as the British Ports Association and the Department for International Trade. We participate in Joint Customs Consultative Committee meetings, the Automated Customs and International Trade Association, Customs Practitioners Group, and the Institute of Export and International Trade.
Our team
Our team has intimate knowledge of HMRC, not only because all our team members are previous HMRC employees, but because we
liaise daily with the organisations that deal with your indirect tax responsibilities. Our in-depth knowledge of the application of VAT and
Customs duties to your industry allows us to deal promptly with your enquiries and to ensure your VAT and Customs duty position is optimised.

We are regularly asked to present for regulators such as Charity Finance Group, ICAEW, ISBA, and Charity Tax Group. We also host VAT Practitioner Group meetings, are part of a technical VAT Committee, and chair the Trade Unions Finance Officers Committee. We have also spoken at events for organisations such as the British Ports Association and the Department for International Trade. We participate in Joint Customs Consultative Committee meetings, the Automated Customs and International Trade Association, Customs Practitioners Group, and the Institute of Export and International Trade.

Contact us

Robert Warne
Rob Warne
Partner, Head of VAT and Customs Duty services
London