How Often Should I Submit a VAT Return?

How Often Should I Submit a VAT Return?

When do UK businesses need to submit VAT returns to HM Revenue and Customs?

By Carl Stanford

Submitting VAT returns to HMRC

Typically, if you’re a VAT registered business you need to submit a VAT return and any payments due to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on a quarterly basis.

HMRC will issue you with a VAT return that must be delivered no later than 30 days after the end of the quarter (the exact date will be stated on the VAT return form). Businesses that don't submit their VAT return on time can face strict penalties.

What's the Annual Accounting Scheme?

If your estimated VAT taxable turnover is less than £1.35 million, you could use the Annual Accounting Scheme. This scheme means you'd only need to submit a single VAT return per year. This would normally be submitted 2 months after the end of the scheme year.

If you participate in the Annual Accounting Scheme, you’ll make payments towards your total VAT bill in the months before you receive your VAT return. The payment amounts are based on your last return (or an estimate if this will be your first one).

When you submit your VAT return, if there’s a difference between what you’ve already paid and your final VAT bill, you’ll either have to make a final payment if you’ve under-paid, or you’ll receive a refund if you’ve over-paid.

How do I get a VAT refund if I make an error?

Mistakes on VAT returns can't be rectified online or over the phone. Instead, you need to tell HMRC in writing. You need to state how the error happened and the relevant VAT period.

When applying for a refund, you’ll also need to inform HMRC how much VAT was overpaid and how you worked this out, as well as the total amount of the error.

Alternatively, you can post a VAT 652 form, available on the HMRC website. It’s vitally important to make sure your letter or form is sent to the VAT Error Correction Team at HMRC to prevent unnecessary delays.