VAT Returns Online

The Complete Guide To VAT Returns Online


VAT is a tax on most goods and services sold in the UK. It stands for Value Added Tax, which is charged by organisations to businesses or individuals who supply or import goods and services. Just like any other tax, it has a set of rules that you need to follow when it comes to how and when you can claim it back. Here at our blog we want to help you navigate the world of VAT, so that you don’t have to worry about making any mistakes when it comes to your vat return online.

What is a VAT return online?

If you’re a business owner in the UK, you’re likely aware of the importance of filing a VAT return. This is a document that tells HMRC how much VAT you’ve collected and paid over a certain period of time. Filing your VAT return can be done online, and this guide will show you how.

First, you’ll need to create an account on the HMRC website. Once you’ve done this, you can log in and begin filling out your VAT return. The return must be completed every quarter, and it will ask for information such as the total value of sales made, the total value of purchases made, and the amount of VAT due or payable.

If you’re unsure about any of the information required on the VAT return, HMRC provides guidance notes that can help. Once you’ve completed the return, simply submit it online and pay any outstanding VAT owed. That’s all there is to it!

Types of VAT Returns

VAT returns can be filed online, through the post, or in person.

The most common type of VAT return is the quarterly return, which covers a three-month period.

VAT-registered businesses must file a return even if they have no VAT to pay or reclaim.

If your business’s taxable turnover is below £85,000, you can file monthly or two-monthly VAT returns.

Annual accounting is an optional scheme for businesses with a taxable turnover of less than £1.35 million – you only make one payment per year but must submit 12 months’ worth of data in your first and final returns.

As well as the standard quarterly and annual VAT Returns, there are several other types which may need to be filed: 

The EU Sales List – this is required if you sell goods to other EU countries and needs to be filed monthly or quarterly;

The Intrastat Return – needed if you trade goods between different UK regions and is filed monthly or quarterly; 

The Annual Stock Transfer Return – for businesses that have removed stock from their warehouse to another premises, e.g. for displays or exhibitions; 

The EC sales list – required if selling goods to consumers in other EU countries (i.e distance selling).

Due Dates for VAT Returns

If you’re registered for VAT, you must submit a VAT Return to HMRC every 3 months. This is done online through the Government Gateway.

The dates when your VAT Return is due depend on your ‘accounting period’. This is either:

the calendar quarter (1 January to 31 March, 1 April to 30 June, 1 July to 30 September or 1 October to 31 December)


your company’s financial year (for example, 1 January to 31 December if your company’s accounting period is a standard tax year).

For paper returns, your return must be received by HMRC no later than the end of the month following the end of your accounting period. For electronic returns, you have until the end of the next working day after the deadline.

What happens if the due date for your VAT return has passed?

If you’re registered for VAT, you must file a VAT return every 3 months. This is done online through HMRC’s website. The due date for your return is the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. For example, if your accounting period ends on 31 March, your return is due by 30 April.

If you don’t file your return on time, HMRC will charge you a late filing penalty. The amount of the penalty depends on how late you are and how much VAT you owe. The maximum penalty is 100% of the tax due.

If you don’t pay your VAT bill on time, HMRC will charge you interest on the outstanding amount. The interest rate is set by HMRC and currently stands at 2.75%.

Cautions when submitting a VAT Return

When you are submitting your VAT Return online, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to avoid any penalties or issues. First and foremost, make sure that all of the information you are providing is accurate. If there are any discrepancies between your records and what is reported on the return, you could be subject to an audit.

In addition, be sure to submit your return on time. Late submissions will result in late payment penalties, which can add up quickly. If you are having trouble meeting the deadline, contact HMRC as soon as possible to explain the situation and see if they can provide any assistance.

Finally, keep in mind that you will need to pay the VAT amount that is due when you submit your return. Be sure to have the funds available in order to avoid any additional penalties or interest charges.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your VAT Return is submitted accurately and on time, avoiding any unnecessary penalties or issues.


We hope this guide has helped you understand everything you need to know about filing VAT returns online. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about anything, it’s always best to speak to an accountant or tax specialist. They will be able to help you figure out the best way to file your return, and ensure that you’re doing everything correctly.

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