VAT Services

Our VAT Services

A complex tax that can often be overlooked, VAT typically comprises a significant part of most company’s cash flow operations.

With VAT legislation becoming more restrictive and HMRC becoming increasingly aggressive in its approach towards business tax compliance, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your VAT affairs are in order and that you have been able to maximise the VAT savings available to you and minimise your VAT cost.

Our clients cover a variety of industry sectors, including non-profit making bodies, international corporations and smaller owner-managed businesses. Our VAT team has extensive experience in all areas of VAT planning, VAT investigations work and general compliance matters and would be delighted to assist you further. 

We assist our clients on both UK and international VAT.  Our established membership of the HLB International network allows us to provide joined-up advice to our clients whose business may involve cross-border transactions or activities that reach beyond the UK.  We also help online traders to fulfil their EU VAT compliance obligations via the amavat ® initiative.  This is a unique solution delivered using the close relationships and expertise within the international network.

We are acutely aware of the uncertainty that businesses and organisations are facing in light of Brexit. We are listening to our clients’ concerns and we can advise on the potential impact to the business, such as increasing real-time costs, as well as administrative burdens, in relation to importation of goods and VAT reporting. While the negotiations and the UK’s parliamentary processes continue, the definitive outcome remains unclear. However, we will continue to provide our clients with hands on support before, during and after Brexit

Our approach is to bring practical, tailored and commercial solutions to the table, to improve compliance and maximise available reliefs, reducing costs wherever possible without compromising on integrity.

How we can help you

The  VAT is a tax chargeable on taxable supplies made in the UK by taxable persons. Credit is given for VAT paid to other businesses and the net balance is payable or reclaimable - normally on a quarterly basis.

A taxable person is any person carrying on a business which is, or is required to be registered for VAT and includes the following:

  • An individual
  • A partnership
  • An unincorporated association, eg trust or charity
  • A limited company
  • A limited liability partnership

We offer a range of VAT services, including:

  • Charitable Reliefs
  • International Trade
  • Imports & Exports Regulations
  • Invoicing & Record Keeping Requirements
  • Land & Property Planning
  • Option to Tax
  • Partial Exemption
  • Business/non-business
  • Special Schemes
  • Tribunal Services

In addition to VAT, our VAT team provides advice on Customs and Excise duties and environmental taxes.

Click here to download our Introduction to VAT brochure.

We recognise that Charities and Not-for-Profit organisations can have complex VAT profiles and there are often VAT issues that may need to be considered. Charities make up a significant proportion of our client base and we are proud to be an established provider of quality and cost-effective VAT advice to this valuable section of society.

We appreciate the uniqueness of each charity’s approach to its service delivery, and we therefore aim to work in a collaborative way with all our charity clients by taking into account the aims and objectives of the organisation as whole, as well as those at a financial level. This allows us to draw on our range of experience across different sectors to provide bespoke VAT advice. Our VAT healthcheck is also a useful tool for organisations in this sector, which can help identify any potential risk areas at the same time as identifying possible VAT savings opportunities, such as tapping into unused VAT reliefs.

We work with charities of all sizes and we provide advice to both VAT registered and non-VAT registered charities. We have identified below some of the main areas where we can provide support to charities and non-for-profit organisations:

  • VAT registration - determine if VAT registration is required, or is advantageous to non-VAT registered charities
  • Income streams – confirm the correct VAT treatment of income, including reviewing grant funding agreements
  • Expenditure – highlighting applicable VAT reliefs, as well as advise on the VAT treatment of expenditure
  • Partial Exemption & Business/Non-Business – carry out reviews of the applicability or application of current methods, as well as considering and helping to implement new methods - including negotiation with HMRC
  • Land & Buildings – advise on the VAT implications of land and building acquisitions as well as constructions projects
  • Training and on-going support – provide bespoke VAT training, or ongoing support via our VAT helpline
  • VAT healthcheck – identify potential areas of risk and highlight VAT savings

Find out more about our Charities & Not-for-profit sector experience here.

French Duncan VAT Director Maria McConnell is the UK Tax Adviser & Customer Relations Consultant for Online Sellers for amavat, a VAT compliance service for traders that sell and buy via Amazon, across Europe.

Getting VAT right is essential for international trade. When using fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) an obligation to register for VAT locally can be created – we are able to guide you through this process.

To find out more about amavat please either contact Maria at or visit the amavat website.

We offer a VAT Health Check service which looks at various aspects of your business to ensure you don’t have any undetected VAT issues and to establish where there may be possible VAT savings to be made. This will generally include a review of the following areas:

  • Income
  • Expenditure
  • Land & Property
  • Partial Exemption
  • Motoring Expenses
  • Special Schemes
  • EU Trade
  • Imports & Exports
  • Any other matters

Click here to download our VAT Health Check brochure.

We currently provide an extensive VAT consultancy and planning service for businesses of various sizes over a diverse range of sectors based in worldwide locations. In addition we also provide a VAT advisory 'help-line' service which provides the comfort of being able to tap in to ongoing VAT support from our experts. 

Click here to download our VAT Advisory Services brochure.

A tax investigation or HMRC enquiry into an individual's or company's affairs can be a very stressful and costly time for those involved.

Tax officials can open a variety of enquiries into a taxpayer’s affairs, ranging from general tax enquiries to in-depth fraud investigations. We assist our clients in navigating the HMRC enquiry process, however simple or complex, ensuring that they feel comfortable that they are being best represented. Typically we will manage this on their behalf, seeking to deal direct with HMRC and minimise disruption to our clients.

Our clients benefit from access to both a breadth and depth of tax technical knowledge and practical experience as a result of our multidisciplinary team containing experts in accounting, corporation tax, VAT, employment taxes, income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

We work closely with our clients to determine the key facts pertinent to the events under enquiry and help them to present their case clearly and concisely but with the utmost robustness. We will continually be considering our clients communications in order to mitigate penalties as best possible.

Our experience includes successfully taking enquiries through the Alternative Dispute Resolution process to First Tier Tribunal, where agreement with the enquiring inspector is not possible.

It is not unusual for us to act on behalf other accountants where the incumbent advisor may be at an impasse with HMRC or may lack the depth of expertise we have on hand.

French Duncan offer a Tax Investigations Service, which will cover you for our fees that result from you or your business being investigated by HMRC. Find out more here.

Case Studies & Testimonials


Click on any of our downloads below.

Meet our VAT Team

Maria McConnell

Maria McConnell
VAT Director
0141 221 2984

Maria McConnell

Maria McConnell

VAT Director


LinkedIn Logo

0141 221 2984

Specialisms include...

Maria started her career in HMRC some 20 years ago in the Thames Valley, where she was involved in both VAT and Excise and Inland Customs. From there, she returned to Scotland to join a Big Four practice, specialising in VAT. Maria joined PKF in 2000, moving across to BDO following the merger in early 2013 as VAT manager, before joining French Duncan in 2015.

Having spent two decades working in VAT, Maria has a gained extensive experience in dealing with HMRC and assisting clients to understand and manage how VAT applies to their business.

With experience in dealing with businesses across all sectors, Maria has been widely involved in the charity and not for profit sector, manufacturing, leisure industries, international businesses and, more recently, the renewable energy sector. Advice provided to clients includes issues such as: partial exemption; business/non-business calculations; land and property advice; place of supply advice and general business VAT planning as well as the provision of in-depth VAT reviews and bespoke VAT training courses.

Maria likes her clients to know that they are valued and important to her and achieves this by being open and friendly at all times. She adopts a down to earth approach to clients’ VAT issues and aims to keep clients up to date on relevant issues and events of interest.

William  Wallace

William Wallace
VAT Manager
0141 221 2984

William  Wallace

William Wallace

VAT Manager


0141 221 2984

William is a Chartered Tax Adviser specialising in VAT and other indirect taxes. William joined French Duncan in 2017 bringing over ten years’ experience in VAT having spent over five years in HMRC dealing with VAT and Customs & Excise, before entering practice in 2012 as a VAT specialist with a Top 10 firm.

William has worked closely with a broad range of businesses and organisations including medium & large corporates OMBs and charities and he is involved in a wide-range of sectors, including: leisure & hospitality, property & construction, technological, agricultural, finance and not-for-profit.

William regularly advises on: property transactions, Partial Exemption & Capital Goods Scheme, Business/Non-Business, mergers, takeovers & transfers, the treatment of income & expenditure, international transactions, VAT Compliance and resolving disputes with HMRC.

William believes understanding his clients’ considerations is the key in providing the best possible service. From this, William delivers unambiguous, cost-effective and practical advice.  His knowledge of HMRC’s processes and confident approach has also helped to successfully resolve disputes with HMRC.

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