Except in cases of fraud, where different time limits apply, the basic rule is that a VAT return cannot be adjusted more than four years after the end of the VAT return period. This is called the ‘four year cap’. The four year cap applies to HMRC and taxpayers, i.e if a VAT return period falls outside the cap, HMRC cannot issue an assessment and a taxpayer cannot make a claim. In relation to HMRC’s powers of assessment see also 58-000 as there are additional time limits which apply e.g. in relation to how long an assessment can be issued after HMRC have sufficient information to do so.

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