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Virtually all VAT-registered businesses must submit online VAT Returns and pay any VAT due, electronically. There are several methods to choose from.
You must ensure that your online return, and your electronic payment, reach HMRC (and, in the case of your electronic payment, clears into HMRC's bank account) by the relevant deadlines. You'll find more details below about the deadlines for submitting your return and paying your VAT.
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You must submit your return so that HMRC receives it by the due date.
This deadline is shown on your online return and is normally one calendar month and seven days after the end of your VAT period.
|Accounting period ending||Deadline for VAT Return submitted online|
|30 September 2013||7 November 2013|
|31 October 2013||7 December 2013|
|30 November 2013||7 January 2014|
|31 December 2013||7 February 2014|
|31 January 2014||7 March 2014|
|28 February 2014||7 April 2014|
However, your deadline will be different if you:
In these cases, your due date shown on-screen will be one calendar month after the end of your VAT period, or two calendar months after the end of your VAT period if you use the annual accounting scheme.
The deadline for when your electronic payment should clear into HMRC's bank account is usually the same as the deadline for your return. You should check with your bank how long it will take your payment to clear into HMRC's bank account as some methods of payment do not operate over the weekend or on a bank holiday.
You can check how much VAT you owe and the payments you have made under 'Your HMRC Services' in the VAT Online service, on the 'At a Glance' screen under 'View Account'. You can view details for the last 15 months of:
If you've already signed up for the Business Tax Dashboard, you can also view your VAT account, including liabilities and payments, there.
You must pay any VAT due by an approved electronic payment method - these include Direct Debit, Faster Payments by internet/telephone banking, CHAPs, Bacs Direct Credit, Online debit or credit card using BillPay and payment by Bank Giro Credit (using a cheque or cash).
Read more about
how to pay VAT - including how to pay electronically
The due date for payment will be shown on your online VAT Return and you must make sure that cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account by this date. The exception to this is Direct Debit - see below.
If your due date falls on a bank holiday or weekend, your payment must clear into HMRC's bank account the bank working day before then, unless you pay using the Faster Payments Service (see below). If your payment arrives later than this you may be liable to a surcharge for late payment.
HMRC accepts payments made using the Faster Payments Service. Faster Payments is a service that has been introduced by the banking industry allowing payments made by internet or telephone banking to be received on the same or next day; provided the value of the payment does not exceed the limit set by your own bank or building society.
Before making a payment using Faster Payments you should contact your bank or building society to confirm the services available to you, any daily value limits and their latest cut off times.
Faster Payments can also be received at the weekend and on bank holidays - but always check first with your bank or building society how long your payment will take to clear into HMRC'S bank account.
If you pay by online Direct Debit, HMRC will collect payment from your nominated bank account a further three bank working days after the due date for your return. This means that online VAT Direct Debit offers you more time to pay than any other method. Collection dates for Direct Debit are shown in the VAT payment deadline calculator (see the section later in this guide). HMRC will only collect the amount you have shown as being due on your VAT Return and will never collect any other outstanding amounts by Direct Debit. At all times you are fully protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.
Please note that, if you wish to set up a Direct Debit and want it to apply to the return you are about to submit, you must set up the Direct Debit first and allow enough time for HMRC to make the necessary arrangements with your bank or building society, before you submit your return online.
You must set up your Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) before you submit your next return and at least two bank working days before the return is due when the due date falls on a weekday. For example, if your return is due on Tuesday 7 May 2013 , two bank working days before this is Thursday 2 May (note that Monday 6 May is a bank holiday).
If your return due date falls on a weekend or bank holiday you will need to set up your DDI at least three bank working days before the return is due. For example, if your return is due on Sunday 7 July, three bank working days before this is Wednesday 3 July.
If your return is due in less than two or three bank working days as shown in the examples above then for this return only you will need to pay by a different electronic method.
You can find out the latest date for setting up your DDI by using the VAT payment deadline calculator - see below.
If you make payments on account (POA), your interim and balancing payments must clear into HMRC's bank account by the last bank working day of the month. HMRC will send you a payment schedule listing your payment dates.
When you submit your VAT Return online, you must not pay any VAT due by sending HMRC a cheque in the post. If paying by cheque (or cash) is important to your business (for example, because of legal or internal security requirements) you can pay by taking your cheque (or cash) to a bank or building society, and paying it in over the counter, along with a Bank Giro Credit which you must obtain from HMRC in advance. It is the Bank Giro which acts as the electronic payment, and it will be printed by HMRC with your business' specific details, to allow HMRC to allocate the payment accurately to your account and the right accounting period.
You may only submit a paper VAT Return or pay by cheque in the post where you have been advised by HMRC that you are exempt from submitting your return online.
If you pay by a cheque in the post, you should note that your payment will be treated as being received by HMRC on the date when cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account. This means that you must allow enough time for the cheque to reach HMRC and clear into HMRC's bank account no later than the due date shown on your paper VAT Return. A cheque takes three bank working days to clear. Bank working days are Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.
To allow for possible postal delays (for which HMRC is not responsible) please allow at least three working days for the payment to reach them and a further three days for the payment to clear into HMRC's bank account.
If your cheque payment does not clear by the due date shown on your paper VAT Return, you may be liable to a surcharge for late payment.
You can also pay by any of the approved electronic methods mentioned above. If you do, then you will normally qualify for extra time to submit your Return and payment, compared to payment by postal cheque.
You can use the VAT payment deadline calculator to help you work out
when you need to set up your payments (such as setting up a Direct
Debit Instruction) or when you need to make your VAT payments. Please
note, that the calculator does not include deadlines for Payment
on Account and Annual Accounting.
VAT payment deadline calculator
If you use the Annual Accounting Scheme, you only need to submit one online VAT Return per year.
You pay your VAT during the year by making nine monthly or three quarterly interim payments towards your total annual VAT bill. Your interim payments are due at the end of months:
Your online return, along with your balancing payment, is due two months after the end of your annual accounting period. If you pay your balancing payment by online VAT Direct Debit, HMRC will collect payment from your nominated bank account a further three bank working days after the due date for your return. Online Direct Debit is different from the Direct Debits used for your instalments, and you will have to sign up separately on the online service at least three bank working days before you submit your return online if you want to make your balancing payment by online Direct Debit.
If you know that you will be unable to make an accurate return by the relevant due date, you should contact HMRC in writing as soon as possible. If they consider that you have a good reason, you may, exceptionally, be allowed to estimate your input tax and/or output tax.
If you are allowed to use estimated figures, and HMRC has received the return and any VAT you owe has cleared into HMRC's bank account by the due date, you will not be in default. If you have a Direct Debit Instruction in place, the box 5 value on your estimated return will be collected from your bank.
If you ask for approval to use estimated figures once the due date is passed, HMRC will consider your request but it will not affect any default that has already been recorded.
You must establish the correct amount of VAT. Any resulting adjustment must be included on the return for the next period. If HMRC agrees that this is not possible, you may include any revisions in the following period at the latest.
If you pay late (or not at all), you may have to pay a surcharge and interest, on top of the original debt. If you have any difficulties paying your VAT, you should still ensure that HMRC receives your online return on time, and let HMRC know about your payment problems.
moving from paper to online VAT Returns and paying electronically
Read about signing up for email reminders and alerts
Find out how to sign up to use VAT online services
Find out how to submit your VAT Return online
Find out about completing your VAT Return