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Virtually all VAT-registered businesses must submit their VAT Returns online and pay any VAT due electronically. This guide explains what action you need to take to start submitting your VAT Returns online. It also tells you where you can get more information and advice.
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All VAT businesses are now required to submit online VAT Returns and pay any VAT due electronically.
Using the online service is quick and easy. However, if you need help with enrolling for VAT Online or submitting your VAT Return online, see the section later in this guide on help and support.
The VAT Online filing service has a number of useful features that you need to be aware of, to get the best from the service:
The first step to submitting your VAT Return online is to sign up for VAT online services. You need to do this whether you choose to use commercial software or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) free online service. Alternatively, you can use an accountant, bookkeeper or other agent to submit your returns online, in which case your agent will need to sign up for VAT online services on your behalf.
You must pay any VAT due electronically. The due date will be shown on your return and you must make sure that cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account by this date. If your payment clears later than this, you may be liable to a surcharge for late payment.
There are various ways to pay including, Direct Debit, internet/telephone banking, Faster Payments or debit and credit cards over the internet. You can also pay by cheque at a bank or building society using a Bank Giro paying-in slip which should be obtained from HMRC (these are pre-printed with your unique details). Since some of these methods can take a little time to set up, you should choose which method you want to use, and set it up, well in advance of the filing and payment deadline. You can use the VAT payment deadline calculator to help you decide when to set up and arrange payments.
You may not have to submit your VAT Return online or pay your VAT electronically if any of the following applies:
If you feel that any of these criteria applies to your business, you should write to:
HMRC VAT Mandation Review Team
You should explain in your letter which exemption you think applies to you, and provide any information and/or supporting documentation that you think is relevant. HMRC will decide, on the basis of the information and evidence you supply, whether you are eligible for exemption from online VAT Return submission.
If you are having difficulties filing online then support is available. You could consider using an agent to submit your online return, getting assistance from friends or family, or using the facilities of a public library. In appropriate cases it may be possible for HMRC to complete the return on your behalf from information given over the telephone. If you want to find out more about the available options then please contact the VAT Helpline.
You can get help with using HMRC's VAT online services in the following guides, which can be printed off.
You can watch videos on YouTube that show you how to enrol for VAT online and how to submit your VAT Return online.
There is also an online demonstrator, which takes you through the process of signing up for VAT Online, submitting a return, and setting up an online Direct Debit.
You can also get help over the telephone from: