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Investment Property Accountants

Electronic Filing Of VAT Returns

Electronic filing of VAT Returns is compulsory for businesses registered after 31 March 2010 and for those whose annual turnover exceeds £100,000. It is expected that electronic filing will be compulsory for all businesses from 2012. Those businesses that file electronically must also pay over their VAT liabilities electronically.

Registering for online VAT is quite straightforward. Go to the HMRC website and click on “VAT online” which can be found in a green box on the left hand side of the home page. This will take you to a screen where you can select “register”. On the next screen select “organisation” tick “VAT” and then click next and enter details on the following screens. To complete the process you will need:

  • your VAT number;
  • your business address;
  • your date of registration for VAT;
  • the final month covered by your last paper VAT Return; and
  • the box 5 figure from your last paper VAT Return.

You can find your date of registration on your VAT Certificate. If you can’t find this, the VAT helpline (0845 010 9000) should be able to help. Box 5 is the amount of VAT shown as payable on your last return. If you have not kept a copy, you should be able to find the figure within your accounting records.

Electronic Payment

Go to the HMRC web page and you will see a white box on the left hand side of the screen headed “quick links”. Click “paying HMRC” and then “VAT”. This page explains electronic payment and further information is available on the methods of payment. The most practical methods of payment are internet payment and direct debit, though you can also pay by means such as CHAPS, BACS, debit card and credit card (note a 1.25% handling charge applies).

To avoid a late payment notification, HMRC must receive cleared funds within 7 days of your normal payment date. So if the first return you pay electronically is for the quarter to 31 March 2010, the normal payment date is 30 April 2010 and therefore HMRC must receive cleared funds no later than 7 May 2010. There is an exception for payment by direct debit. HMRC will collect the payment from your bank account three working days after the extra 7 calendar days.

Date of Article: 24th February 2010

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This domain is owned by Warr & Co Chartered Accountants which is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). Whilst the information detailed here is updated regularly to ensure it remains factually correct, it does not in any way constitute specific advice and no responsibility shall be accepted for any actions taken directly as a consequence of reading it. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised and / or engage our services in providing advice specific to your personal circumstances, please feel free to contact Peter Edwards on 0161 477 6789 or email us at