Its essential characteristics are that it involves having a proactive attitude, avoiding problems before they arise or else grasping opportunities that exist, or in certain cases, creating those opportunities, rather than merely reacting to visits from HMRC. It is as much to do with ensuring that contractual arrangements between commercial parties are satisfactory for all concerned, and that VAT consequences are properly factored into commercial decisions before they are made.
It is very critical that the VAT position of a transaction be considered before a contract is signed or the transaction has taken place. Once the contract has been entered into without thought to the VAT consequences, the damage may already have been done; the VAT consequences would have been set by the transaction and cannot be altered at a later date.
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