How to Submit VAT Returns Online

From 1 April 2012 HM Revenue and Customs brought in the requirement that virtually all VAT-registered businesses must now submit their VAT returns online.

There’s no need to worry about this being an additional end of tax year chore. Submitting VAT returns online is relatively straightforward. Use the HMRC VAT online service and you can submit your returns for free and with a minimum of hassle. Alternatively, your accountant can access the service and submit the return on your behalf.

Online VAT ReturnsAs a first time online user of this service you need to register and enrol using the following pieces of information:

1 – Your VAT registration number.

2 – The postcode of your main place of business.

3 – Your EDT (effective date of registration) for VAT.

4 – The final month of your last VAT return submitted.

5 – The ‘box 5’ figure from the last VAT return submitted.

The first three pieces of information can be found on the VAT4 certificate of registration or letter from HRMC notifying of the requirement to submit online. The final two items can be found on your last submitted VAT return.

Newly registered for VAT businesses will need to enter n/a for point four and 0.00 for point five.

If you’re already registered with HMRC’s online services – PAYE or self-assessment for example – simply log on with you existing User ID and password, add VAT under the ‘services you can add section’ and enter in the five facts above.

Once enrolled you can access the service and submit VAT returns online immediately. However, to use other features of the VAT online returns service, such as updating your details or submitting an EC sales list, you need to wait for your activation code through the post.

It’s easy to submit your VAT returns online – find more information and links to the services at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/online/new.htm.

Author:  Carl Barton

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