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All You Need to Know About VAT Returns

All You Need to Know About VAT Returns

We are all required to pay taxes. It is part of our obligations as a citizen of the UK. Since 2019, paying taxes and filing VAT return has gone digital. It is a compulsory system initiated by our government requiring VAT payments to be made online. This is beneficial for individuals and companies who outsource bookkeeping and accounting services to an online firm.

To give you a better idea of what VAT returns are, let’s start from the basic.

What is VAT?

VAT is ‘Value Added Tax’. This is the tax that is taken from the sales of goods and services. Businesses are required to pay VAT whenever their VAT taxable turnover surpasses a specific limit. VAT tax rate, on the other hand, is the amount of Value Added Tax that is charged based on the type of goods or services you offer. VAT tax rates vary from business to business but as a standard rule, 20% is standard.

What is a VAT return?   

The VAT return is a document that contains accounting information like:

  • your total purchases and sales
  • the amount of VAT that you are obligated to pay
  • the amount of VAT that you recollect
  • what your VAT refund from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is

You are required to submit it to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs every 3 months. This is also known as your ‘accounting period.’ Even if you have no VAT to reclaim or pay, you still have to submit a VAT return.

When are VAT returns due?    

VAT payment due dates vary from business to business. To determine your VAT Return and payment deadlines, login to your VAT online account.

The deadline of submission for VAT returns and payment is usually within the same month and 7 days after the end of an accounting period because you need to wait until your payment is cleared by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.  

As we have mentioned earlier, you are required to pay your taxes online. You can use internet banking or direct debit to do this. If there is any reason that you cannot pay it online, you must contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs as soon as possible!

How to Do a VAT Return

Now that you know what VAT and  VAT returns are, it is time for you to learn how to fill it in. Since you need to make your payments online, you need to visit your VAT online account to fill in your VAT return. 

  • If you signed up under the ‘Making Tax Digital for VAT’, you need to use another accounting software indicated in the website.
  • Start filling in the information that is asked on each box. If you need guidance on what to put on it, visit the website for more details.
  • If you are on the Flat Rate Scheme, the website will also guide you on how you can fill in your return.
  • As required, you must complete the EC Sales List and indicate all EU sales on your VAT return.

How to Submit a VAT Return

You need to submit your TAX return online. Here are a few exceptions to the rule.

  • If your business is going to file for insolvency and you have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or Company Voluntary Arrangement  
  • Your religious beliefs forbid you from using computers.
  • Your age keeps you from submitting an online TAX return.
  • You have a disability which makes it impossible for you to go online.
  • You live in an area with no internet connection.

If you can only submit a paper filing of your TAX return, contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and inform them about your situation.

If you can submit your TAX Returns online, all you need is to keep in mind your VAT number and the login details of your VAT online account. Then by using their online platform, you can go ahead and submit it. You can purchase an accounting software to do this or take advantage of the free online service provided by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

  • To get your VAT number and online account, you need to register at
  • Look for the online registration link then click ‘VAT submit returns’.
  • To apply for a VAT number, log in to your VAT online account.

As we have mentioned earlier, to help you finish your VAT return you can

  • Use HMRC’s free online service
  • Purchase an accounting software from HMRC’s list of commercial software suppliers
  • Ask for assistance from agents or accountants

For some, matters about tax are just too complicated or they simply do not have the time to file it. If there are still some aspects of VAT returns that you do not understand, do not fret. We are here to help!

We understand that choosing an accountant is not an easy decision to make. You need a company that can match your individual needs. You need a company that offers fees that are just and fair. Most important of all, you need a company you can trust and be comfortable with.

Nigel B Butler Ltd is a local chartered accountancy firm that has been working with small to medium-sized businesses in Swindon for more than 25 years! We are a team of highly skilled and highly motivated professionals dedicated to providing the support and success that our clients need for their business and accountancy needs. We offer the following services:

  • Tax Returns
  • VAT Returns
  • Bookkeeping & Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Business Growth

The team of Nigel B Butler Ltd can help you deal with the stress of filing your VAT returns. 

  • complete VAT returns on time
  • keep you from incurring penalties
  • assist you in applying for VAT registration
  • give you advice on various VAT schemes that is suitable for your enterprise
  • handle any disputes that may arise with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • attend VAT inspections

Take advantage of our Free Initial Consultation so that we will understand your accountancy requirements. You can also request a callback at a time that is very convenient for you!

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