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VAT Advice

VAT is increasingly complex and impacts all aspects of your business. We can provide VAT advice to unravel complexity, help ensure compliance and make sure you pay no more VAT, Customs Duty, Excise Duties and various environmental taxes than necessary. 

Contact Alistair Duncan

  • Alistair Duncan
    Meet the team

    The team

  • Start-ups. Entrepreneurs. SMES. Privately Owned & Listed Businesses. Multinationals. Public & Social Sector Organisations. 

    Who we can help

  • VAT Advisory. VAT Compliance. Cross-Border VAT. Customs Duties. Excise Duties. Environmental Taxes. Aggregates Levy. Landfill Tax. 

    How we can help


As a transaction-based tax, Value Added Tax (VAT) should be factored into your business plans to ensure there are no unexpected surprises. Many businesses are also subject to Customs Duty, Excise Duties and various environmental taxes. Unlike VAT, which allows you to offset input tax against the output tax due, these other indirect taxes directly affect your profit margins. 

Our team’s specialist skills have been acquired through supporting numerous clients, and working in HMRC and private industry. We provide comprehensive VAT advice and indirect tax services and, whether it’s compliance matters or complex restructuring, we’ll support you with practical, tailored solutions. 


Amongst our services, we’ve developed a VAT Place of Supply Tool. It provides a clear audit trail of your VAT treatment decision-making, to demonstrates to HMRC that you have taken reasonable care.  

For suppliers, it ensures VAT is only charged when due, avoiding lengthy and potentially costly arguments with customers. For customers, it allows early identification of over-charged VAT which can be corrected before it becomes a problem. 


VAT reporting requirements vary from business to business. Whether you’re a sole trader operating a special accounting scheme or a large company with additional cross-border reporting requirements, our VAT advice can help you meet your VAT obligations. 

With HMRC being increasingly strict on VAT compliance, it’s essential you can demonstrate “reasonable care”. We offer a full service for preparing and submitting VAT returns, saving you time for your core business activities. If you prefer to complete your returns in-house, our pre-submission review will verify you’ve applied the correct treatment. 

As well as regular reporting, we’ll support you on other compliance matters, including: 

  • Assistance with VAT inspections and enquiries. 
  • VAT registrations. 
  • Options to tax. 
  • Partial exemption calculations. 
  • Overseas refund claims. 

Our track record of successful negotiations with HMRC will give you peace of mind. 


As VAT is “above the line”, minimising your VAT burden will directly enhance your profitability. Involving our experienced VAT professionals at an early stage in the planning process can achieve VAT savings that would be difficult to achieve retrospectively. 

Using our extensive knowledge of VAT and how HMRC operates, we’ll work with you to create a bespoke solution that’s commercially sound, robust and fully meets your needs. This might range from checking for accuracy to planning the use of special purpose vehicles for a project. 

We’ll support your core business activities as well as less routine areas, such as: 

  • Acquiring, restructuring or disposal of businesses. 
  • Acquiring, selling and developing land and buildings. 
  • EU and international VAT transactions. 


With both VAT and Goods and Services Tax (GST) becoming increasingly popular worldwide, it’s more critical than ever to understand the indirect tax consequences of international trade. Our experienced VAT team have significant experience of advising on international matters and, through affiliate firms in the Crowe Global and TIAG networks, access to an extensive global knowledge resource. 

Even within the EU, there are significant differences in how VAT is operated. Expanding outside the EU brings additional complications including VAT/GST registrations, representatives and withholding, and access to VAT refunds. 

If you’re planning a multi-jurisdictional activity, our team’s project management skills can co-ordinate advice from all the countries involved, to help identify the key issues and risks involved in ensuring compliance. 


Ensuring you apply the correct VAT advice to your business transactions gives you the reassurance of minimising VAT exposures and penalties. Our VAT health check service is designed to highlight any issues, maximise opportunities and prevent problems. 

Our service can be a standalone exercise or part of a readiness review before an HMRC inspection, and will be matched to your needs. A standard health check would review: 

  • Your supplies/income streams. 
  • Your VAT recovery procedure and processes; including your partial exemption method (if applicable). 
  • Non-core transactions such as property purchases and sales. 

Our VAT health check can help ensure that: 

  • Your VAT processes are compliant with current VAT laws. 
  • You demonstrate “reasonable care” and remove any errors to avoid penalties. 
  • By quantifying and disclosing any errors to HMRC before they are uncovered, you can reduce or eliminate any penalty. 

As well as ensuring compliance, our health check will highlight opportunities to save VAT by ensuring all available reliefs are applied. Our health check generates real tax efficiencies, allowing you to invest those savings in building a bigger, better and more profitable business. 


Post-Brexit, access to Customs advice and services has never been more important. The Customs area can be complex with a diverse range of reliefs and regimes available to businesses, such as End Use, IPR, OPR, AEO and Customs Warehousing. 

Unlike VAT, Customs duty is not recoverable, so the cost either has to be built into your pricing or will impact your profitability. We offer advice and support in all areas of international trade, highlighting which duty reliefs and/or regimes may be available to you. 

Our Customs duty services include: 

  • Assistance with implementing customs reliefs/regimes.  
  • Advice on tariff classification and the rules of origin. 
  • Business process and controls reviews – a customs health check that ensures your supply chain processes operate efficiently and that you access all potential saving opportunities. 

Whether it’s supplementing your in-house resource on a specific project, or ensuring you understand your obligations and costs as you move into new markets, our expert team will guide through your UCC obligations. 


In addition to VAT advice and Customs duty, we can advise you on other indirect taxes. 

Excise duties 

Like Customs duty, Excise duty is generally not recoverable, making it a direct and often substantial cost to your business. We’ll help you meet your Excise compliance obligations, from registration to returns. With the significant value of many Excise duties, we can also advise on duty suspension regimes, to ease your cash flow and working capital requirements. 

Environmental Taxes 

The importance of Environmental Taxes continues to grow. With a mixture of devolved and national taxes, the position can be even more complex for Scottish businesses operating both sides of the border. 

We are experienced in advising on a wide range of environmental taxes, including the Climate Change Levy, Aggregates Levy, Landfill Tax and the new Plastic Packaging Tax. Whilst these other indirect taxes may not be as common as VAT and Customs Duty, they are a significant issue for those businesses facing them. Whether you have to deal with HMRC, SEPA or Revenue Scotland, we’ll help you manage and minimise these taxes. 

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