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Online VAT returns and electronic payments

Since April 2010 most VAT registered businesses have been required to submit their VAT Returns online and pay any VAT due electronically. From 1 April 2012 all VAT registered businesses will be required to meet these requirements, apart from a very small number who will be exempt.

Exemptions from doing your VAT online

Businesses may not have to comply with the requirement if:

  • they are subject to an insolvency procedure - but if the business is subject to an approved Voluntary Arrangement, administration or trust deed, an online submission may be made
  • HMRC is satisfied that the business is run by practising members of a religious society, whose beliefs prevent them from using computers.

If you believe either of these exemptions apply then it is important to confirm the position with HMRC and not assume that the exemption applies.

Paying your VAT electronically

Businesses which submit their VAT Returns online, must also pay any VAT due electronically. This generally gives businesses up to seven extra calendar days to submit their return and pay their VAT. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example businesses which file annual returns and make payments on account.

HMRC advise:

'The extended due date will be shown on your online return and you must ensure that cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account by this date. If your payment clears later than this, you may be liable to a surcharge for late payment'.

'There are various ways to pay including by Direct Debit, online and telephone banking. You can also pay by cheque at a bank or building society using a Bank Giro paying-in slip which can be obtained from HMRC. Since some of these methods can take a little time to set up, you should choose which method you want to use, and set it up, well in advance of the filing and payment deadline'.

If you would like any help with your VAT return please do get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC VAT online guidance VAT online helpsheet



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