To find out more, you can either watch our video or read about it below.
You can submit your VAT return online through your government gateway account, by entering the figures into the correct boxes provided, or by using an accounting software.
HMRC provide a list of accounting software that allow you to submit your VAT return directly without having to enter all the figures separately in the correct boxes –This saves time and avoids any discrepancies.
At Jon Davies Accountants, we use Xero to submit the majority of our VAT returns.
The only exceptions to submitting your return online are if:
- Your business is subject to an insolvency procedure
- You can’t use a computer due to religious reasons, your age or disability; or
- You simply don’t have access to the internet
You can contact HMRC when you register for VAT to get help with submitting your VAT returns through paper filing.
What do I need to submit my VAT return online?
When you registered for VAT you should have set up a government gateway account with HMRC. You will need the log in details for this, your VAT number and your VAT calculations.
When do I need to submit my VAT return?
If you are registered for quarterly VAT returns, you have up to 1 month and 7 days after the end of the accounting period.
For example, if you VAT return runs from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2018, you have until 7 May to submit your return and pay any liability.
You should leave enough time for HMRC to receive the payment in this period, therefore we recommend getting your VAT returns in as quickly as possible – especially if you’re due a rebate!
The deadline if you’re on the Annual accounting scheme is different. You make advanced payments towards your VAT bill throughout the year either based on your last return, or estimated if you’re new to VAT. You’re VAT period is 1 year and you have up to of 2 months after the end of the accounting period to submit your return.
For example, if your VAT return runs from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, you have until 28 February 2019 to submit your return. When you do submit your return, you will have either overpaid VAT throughout the year or underpaid. Therefore, you will either pay the outstanding amount over to HMRC or reclaim any overpaid VAT.
Always remember to note the reference number you receive when you submit your return as proof of your submission.
What happens if I submit my VAT return late?
HMRC will record a default on your account if you miss your submission deadline or you fail to make a payment on time and you will enter a ‘surcharge period’ of 12 months. If you default for a second time within this 12 month period the surcharge period is extended for a further 12 months and you may have to pay a fine on top of the VAT you owe. This fine is based on a percentage of the VAT outstanding and increases every time you default.
Surcharges can be as high as 15% of your annual turnover. Therefore, don’t miss the deadlines!
If you deliberately understate or overclaim on your VAT return, HMRC can also charge you a penalty of 100% of your tax. Any errors to your VAT return must be reported to HMRC.
How do I reclaim VAT?
If you have paid more VAT than you have reclaimed, then you are due a VAT rebate. You need to provide HMRC with your bank account details – even if you have a direct debit set up for VAT returns. You should receive your rebate within 10 working dates of HMRC receiving your Return.
In summary, it is important to make sure you submit your VAT return on time to avoid any fines. We also encourage using an agent or accountant to submit your return for you to make sure you are reclaiming as much VAT back as you can. You can give them authority via your online account.
We hope you have found this useful. If you have any queries, please get in touch. We’d love to help.