VAT Accounting Services | Planning & Advice | PKF Francis Clark
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Indirect Taxes

VAT is complex, time-consuming…and can be costly.

Complying with the wide range of indirect taxes, from VAT to Stamp Duty Land Tax and Customs / Excise duty, often requires quick thinking and the expertise of a specialist.

At PKF Francis Clark we have one of the largest and most experienced VAT, Customs & Indirect Tax advisory teams in the country. Our specialist team addresses issues proactively to help you meet your obligations, remain compliant and avoid penalties. We work with you to help solve your VAT problems, prevent disputes and where necessary liaise with HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf.

Staying on top of VAT is essential to help avoid stiff penalties for non-compliance and late filing, while also helping to improve cashflow and profitability.

How we can help you

Working with businesses from start-ups to multi-nationals, individuals to large-scale corporates, we can offer advice, guidance and support across all sectors covering VAT, Customs & Indirect Tax including:

VAT/Customs Reviews – Risk / Opportunity / Efficiency Identification
Land & Property – Planning / Structuring / Options To Tax
Transaction & Product treatment / Non-statutory Clearances
Mergers & Acquisitions / Restructuring
Partial Exemption / Non-Business-Business VAT Recovery Scheme Methodology
Compliance – Return Preparation / Completion / Review / Submission / MTD
Investigations / Dispute resolution / Advocacy / Tribunals
International Trading – EU / RoW / Registrations
Training – Back-to-Basics / Tailored Course / Webinars / Tutorials

Sector Specialisms

The breadth and depth of our experience spans all business sectors. However, we have a particularly strong reputation for our expertise in the following areas:


Land & Property

VAT on land, property and construction is frequently a minefield and makes up a large proportion of the VAT advice provided by our VAT team.  As most of our business clients trade from premises, we deal with queries relating to land and property, this could be anything from sub-letting a property to selling a business including the business premises.  We also advise charities where various reliefs may be available.  Non-business clients may also require VAT advice for example, when they build a new home and want to make a DIY claim or purchase a property that has been empty for some time. As the figures involved are invariably big, it is important that advice is sought at the outset.



Our Marine Team has decades of experience advising on all matters VAT, Customs and Tax across the full and diverse range of businesses and organisations within the sector. We provide member support to British Marine, have an active involvement with the RYA and a close professional relationship with HMRC’s Pleasurecraft Team. Our Team is equipped to provide advice and guidance with transactional issues, such as inter-border movements and Place of Supply queries for work on boats. We provide VAT Paid Status checks, Due Diligence and Opinion Reports, as well as oversee complex ownership and operating structures and set-ups. In addition, we advise on the consequential and attendance tax matters, such as Benefit in Kind and employment taxes. Our close working relationship with the leading marine lawyers and being part of the PKF International network gives us unparalleled access to top-class, on the ground marine expertise world-wide.



VAT is a complex area for the charity and not-for-profit sector but our VAT team has the considerable experience and expertise necessary to support our clients. They see us as an extension to their team and we work closely together on both compliance matters and project work. Our team also includes several ex-HMRC staff who have worked as both visiting and reviews officer, giving us that added advantage when negotiating with HMRC on matters such as VAT repayments, registrations and disputes. We regularly provide VAT advice and guidance on issues such as partial exemption, irrecoverable VAT, business-non-business apportionment, grant income, VAT treatment of income and contractual arrangements.


International Trade

Over the last 20 years, developments in international marketing and logistics has made it possible to reach many more customers effectively. However, to maintain national security and protect local industries there is often documentation, compliance and tax requirements imposed when moving goods internationally. Our team has helped many clients navigate through these complexities to ensure businesses are aware of the costs and obligations involved. BREXIT has also meant that many businesses are having to understand how imports and exports work as well as be aware of the latest rules which are changing almost daily. Understanding these changes will be vital to maintain a competitive edge by maximising cash flows, minimising time delays and maintaining profit margins.


Tourism & Leisure

With the majority of our offices based in the South West, the Leisure and Tourism sector forms a big part of our daily working life. We understand the particular issues affecting hotels, holiday and the catering industry, such as the treatment of booking fees, holiday and wedding packages, furnished holiday lets and developments, and the perennial matter of ‘take-away vs on-site’ consumption. But our expertise extends way beyond the regional geographic, with our team being acknowledged specialists in areas such as the Tour Operators Margin Scheme (TOMS), transport services and international conference activities and with our PKF International network we have the ability to call upon on-the-ground expertise pretty much anywhere across the world.



Many providers of healthcare will not be required to register for VAT as their income will be exempt for VAT purposes, for them VAT is simple. However, many healthcare providers such as opticians or dispensing GPs, have a mixture of taxable and exempt income and are required to be registered for VAT. They are likely to be partially exempt which means calculations are required to calculate the amount of VAT that can be recovered on expenditure. The calculations can be complicated and may involve the agreement of special methods with HMRC to ensure that the recovery of VAT on expenditure is fair and reasonable.  Our VAT team frequently provides advice on the classification of sources of income in order to determine whether VAT applies.



Our VAT team is experienced in dealing with queries from the legal sector.  The most frequently asked queries relate to the VAT treatment on the recharge of costs and whether these are disbursements for VAT purposes.  This is a particularly difficult area and has been the subject of several tribunal cases in recent years.  Other queries arise where services are provided to persons who belong outside the UK and it may not be clear whether VAT should be charged. We can advise on the VAT treatment of other sources of income such as finance or insurance commissions and oath fees. Our experienced team, which includes former VAT inspectors, can also provide assistance with VAT visits.


We’ve pooled together all our experts’ advice and sources of support together in one place. This should make it easier for you to find useful information and to know what your next steps are in preparation for the changes that will take effect from 1 January 2021.

Customs Duties

With the vote to leave the EU in 2016 and the advent of an additional 27 ‘third countries’ with whom the UK has for the last 27 years traded without fiscal borders, the dynamics have significantly changed and now more than ever the importance of understanding International trade, the mechanics of cross-border movement of goods and the attendant Customs requirements and duties applicable has become critical.

PKF Francis Clark is in the unique position of having within its VAT, Customs & Indirect Team six qualified and accredited Customs specialists, who can provide detailed and expert advice, guidance and assistance on all matters relating to Customs activity and cross-border trading.

  • Commodity codes / classification
  • Customs Warehousing
  • IPR / OPR / RGR
  • Incoterms
  • Origin
  • Clearances
  • Licences
  • Customs Training

Not just VAT & Customs…

Our team is also fully versed in and able to advise on other areas of indirect tax, including the ‘green’ and land taxes:

  • SDLT
  • Climate Change Levy
  • Aggregates Levy
  • IPT
  • Passenger Transport

Topical VAT, Customs & Indirect Tax advice/information

MAKING TAX DIGITAL for VAT (MTDfV) to be mandated for all VAT registered businesses from April 2022 – Are you ready?

Initially, Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) was mandated from 1 April 2019 for all entities with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000.

In the latest step towards digitalisation, MTDfV is mandated from 1 April 2022 for all VAT registered entities, regardless of turnover.

What does this mean for you? From 1 April 2022, all VAT registered businesses will have to:

  • Keep their records digitally (for VAT purposes only)
  • Provide their VAT return information to HMRC through MTDfV compatible software

We have a series of FAQs, scenarios and guidance to help you handle some of the complexities.

These can be downloaded below:

Please get in touch with your Client Services Manager or email:

[email protected]

Our Approach

We pride ourselves on solving difficult VAT problems in a practical, timely and cost-efficient way. We identify cash-saving opportunities, advise on the correct VAT treatment, and help our clients manage VAT risk. Our team is pro-active, knowledgeable and commercially aware, and we have a friendly and professional approach when working with clients.

Our ethos is that of working with you, to understand your business and your goals, so that we become an effective extension of your business.

We work closely with the firm’s direct tax, corporate finance and business recovery teams to make sure new structures and significant transactions are put together in the most tax and VAT efficient way, to produce the most effective result and avoid unintended or adverse consequences.

Meet our team

We are recognised for having one of the largest VAT, Customs & Indirect tax teams in the country. Our advice and expertise are called on by both existing and new clients, other accountancy firms who do not have the in-house expertise needed, as well as Government bodies and a variety of large organisations.

The team is comprised of specialists who have been brought together from varying backgrounds, with a number of ex-HMRC/Customs & Excise officers, tax specialists, accountants and auditors and also from outside industry, resulting in a blend of talent that is able to bring a balanced, comprehensive and unique approach to our VAT & Customs advisory service.

“The VAT team at PKF Francis Clark is the best I have worked with. For an impatient CFO, working in a fast paced business, they are almost always on the end of the line and can answer most things straight off the bat. If they cannot answer a question, they always have the resources in the team to find out the answer and give a speedy response and will work through issues with you to provide guidance if the answer is not straightforward. Their industry knowledge is up to date and relevant and helps you to identify issues that you might not have been aware of.”

Matt Robinson
CFO, INEOS Team UK, the British America’s Cup team
Rating: 5

Talk to our VAT and Indirect Tax
experts about how we can help:

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