In this section:

  • VAT

How to pay VAT

This guide gives you the payment deadlines for VAT and tells you about your payment options.

It is now mandatory to send HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) your VAT Return online and pay any VAT electronically. HMRC recommends that you pay by Direct Debit.

If the VAT you owe HMRC is less than £1, you don't need to pay anything or to carry the amount forward.

On this page:

VAT payment deadlines

You are responsible for calculating how much VAT you owe and for paying your VAT on time. Your payment must reach HMRC's bank account no later than the due date shown on your VAT Return. If you pay by Direct Debit HMRC will collect your payment automatically from your bank account 3 working days after the date your VAT return is due.

If HMRC have notified you that you're exempt from submitting online returns you can choose to pay by post.

If you miss the payment deadline you may have to pay a surcharge for late payment.

Use HMRC's payment deadline calculator to see when to make your payment

Read more about Deadlines for your VAT Return and payment

More about missed VAT deadlines: penalties and surcharges

Annual Accounting Scheme

If you use the Annual Accounting Scheme you spread your payments throughout the year and only submit 1 return a year. If you owe a final balancing payment you must make sure it reaches HMRC's bank account by the date that your return is due. That is 2 months after the agreed year end date for the scheme.

Read more about the Annual Accounting Scheme

Payments on Account for Large Businesses

If you make payments on account (POA), your payments are due on the last working day of the second and third month of every VAT quarterly period, and must be made electronically. Your return and balancing payment are due on the last working day of the month after the end of the quarter.

Read more about payments on account in Notice 700/60

Top

Viewing your payments online

HMRC’s VAT online service shows details of any payments made and credits received for the last 15 months.

Find out more about the VAT online service

Top

Use the right payment reference

When you pay HMRC it is important to use the right reference number. This makes sure your payment reaches your account and you won't get reminders after you've paid.

To pay your VAT you use your 9 digit VAT registration number. For example,123 4567 89. You can find your reference number:

  • in your VAT online account
  • on your VAT Registration Certificate

When you give your VAT registration number please show the reference without any gaps between the characters, for example 123456789, or there could be delays in updating your account.

If your payment does not reach HMRC's bank account by the due date, you may have to pay a surcharge for late payment.

Check your VAT registration number with HMRC's reference checker

Top

Penalties for submitting a paper VAT Return

Unless you are exempt from submitting your VAT Return online you will be charged a penalty if you submit a paper return.

Read more about penalties for submitting a paper VAT Return

Top

Direct Debit - How to set up

Online Direct Debits

You can use your VAT Online account to pay your VAT Return bill by Direct Debit.

HMRC recommends that you pay by Direct Debit because payments are collected automatically from your bank account 3 working days after the date your VAT return is due - providing you get it to them on time.

HMRC will only use your bank details to collect the amount you owe on your online VAT return by Direct Debit. They won't use them to make any repayments unless you tell them to.

Find out how to sign up for the VAT Online service if you haven't already

Read more on how to set-up an online Direct Debit now

How to ask HMRC to make a repayment direct to your bank account

Direct Debit payments for Annual Accounting

If you choose to pay your regular Annual Accounting Scheme payments by Direct Debit you need to complete a form VAT 623 (Direct Debit Form) and send it with your application when you apply to join the Annual Accounting Scheme.

You can't use the VAT Direct Debit online service for your regular Annual Accounting Scheme payments.

But you can use it to make a balancing payment when submitting your annual return - follow the earlier instructions on setting up an online Direct Debit.

Changing your Annual Accounting Scheme payment method

When you use the Annual Accounting Scheme, you should stay with your chosen payment method for at least 12 months.

If you wish to change your payment method after a year tell HMRC by writing to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Annual Accounting Registration Unit
National Registration Services
Imperial House
77 Victoria Street
Grimsby
DN31 1DB

Annual Accounting Scheme - go to Direct Debit form (VAT623)

Read more about the Annual Accounting Scheme

Top

Online debit or credit card using BillPay

If you have a debit or credit card from a UK card issuer, you can pay your VAT online using the BillPay service provided by Santander Corporate Banking.

If you pay by credit card you will have to pay a transaction fee of 1.4%. HMRC does not accept American Express or Diners Club cards.

You cannot pay surcharges, interest or penalties this way.

A BillPay payment takes 3 bank working days to reach HMRC. Bank working days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

Make a debit or credit card payment now (Opens new window)

Check your VAT registration number with HMRC's reference checker

Read more about Deadlines for your VAT Return and payment

More about missed VAT deadlines: penalties and surcharges

Top

Setting up a Standing Order for Annual Accounting and Payment on Account Schemes

You can pay your VAT by standing order if you have been accepted for the following schemes:

  • Annual Accounting
  • Payment on Account

Annual Accounting Scheme

Show on your application form for the Annual Accounting Scheme that you want to pay by standing order. Once HMRC has accepted your application they will send you a standing order form which tells your bank how much and when to pay HMRC. You fill in the rest of the form with your bank account details and send it to your bank so they can set up the standing order.

You should stay with the same payment method for at least 12 months. If you want to change after a year write to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Annual Accounting Registration Unit
National Registration Service
Imperial House
77 Victoria Street
Grimsby
DN31 1DB

Payment on Account for Large Businesses

If you're a large business and want to make payments on account by standing order, use HMRC's standing order authority form which has the HMRC bank account details you need. To download the form follow the link below.

Standing order authority request form

If you want to set up a standing order using your bank or building society's online or telephone banking you'll need to give them HMRC's bank account details.

Find out HMRC's bank account details

Find out more about Deadlines for your VAT Return and payment

Read more about missed VAT deadlines: penalties and surcharges

Top

Paying at your bank by Bank Giro

If your bank or building society offers the Bank Giro service you can make a VAT payment at your own branch by cheque or cash. This is more efficient and secure than sending a payment by post.

To pay this way you need to order a book of paying-in slips by email or by telephone.

It can take 4 to 6 weeks for the paying-in slips to be printed and sent to you. So if your payment deadline is before they arrive you'll have to use another payment method.

To order a book HMRC will need your:

  • VAT registration number
  • company name

Ordering by email

Use the link below to send an email order to HMRC.

Order a book of VAT paying in slips by email

Ordering by telephone

Call HMRC's Paying-in Slip Orderline on telephone: 03000 519206. You leave your VAT registration number on an answer machine.

Cwsmeriaid Cymraeg/Welsh language customers

Os hoffech gyflenwad o slipiau talu-i-mewn Cymraeg, galwch ein Llinell Gymorth Gymraeg ar 0300 200 3705.

If you would like a supply of Welsh language paying-in slips, please call our Welsh Language Helpline on telephone: 0300 200 3705.

Making payment

Once you have the book:

  • take your paying-in slip to your own branch (other banks may not offer this service or may charge you for it)
  • make your cheques payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your VAT registration number

Please allow at least 3 bank working days for your payment to reach HMRC. Bank working days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

Top

By post

When you can't pay by post

Virtually all VAT registered traders must submit their returns online and pay electronically. Unless HMRC have confirmed that you're exempt from submitting your VAT returns online you must no longer pay VAT by posting a cheque to HMRC. You must use one of the electronic payment methods covered in this guide. If you need to pay by cheque for any other reason you can use Bank Giro at a participating bank or building society. For more information on how to do this see the section in this guide 'Paying at your bank by Bank Giro'.

When you can pay by post

If HMRC have confirmed that you're exempt from submitting online returns, you can still pay by posting a cheque to HMRC.

HMRC treats any payment you send by post as received on the date when your money reaches their bank account - not the date they receive your cheque. So you must allow time for your payment to get to HMRC and reach their bank account in time for the due date on your paper VAT Return or penalty notice. You need to allow for possible postal delays (for which HMRC is not responsible). Please allow at least 3 working days for the cheque to arrive with HMRC and a further 3 bank working days for your payment to reach their bank account. Bank working days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

If your cheque does not clear by the due date shown on your paper VAT Return, you may have to pay a surcharge for late payment.

If you pay by post please:

  • make your cheque payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your VAT registration number
  • send it with your return using the pre-addressed envelope provided by HMRC
  • do not fasten the cheque to the return, or fold the cheque

If you send a payment to HMRC with your return and do not have a pre-addressed HMRC envelope please send them to:

HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Controller
VAT Central Unit
BX5 5AT

If exceptionally you send your return by courier service please use this address:

HM Revenue & Customs
Alexander House
Southend
SS99 1AA

For more information about payment deadlines

Read more about missed VAT deadlines: penalties and surcharges

Top

Telling HMRC if no VAT payment is due

If you have no VAT payment due you must let HMRC know when completing your VAT Return. Your return should show that either no payment is due, or that you are claiming a VAT repayment.

If you do not send in your completed return by the due date HMRC will send you an automatic assessment of the VAT due for that period.

Read more about Deadlines for your VAT Return and payment

Read more about missed VAT deadlines: penalties and surcharges

Top

More useful links

What to do if you can't pay your VAT

Register for the VAT Online service

Read about VAT on Vehicles from abroad in the VAT Information Sheet 'Notification of Vehicle Arrivals'

Top