VAT return online

Struggling with tax? Here’s how to pay a UK VAT return online


Almost all businesses (big and small) in the UK are requires to be VAT registered and regularly submit a return to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). While this can be a bit of a hassle, it has become remarkably easier in recent years. We’re going to take a look at what you need to do submit your VAT return online.

When do VAT payments have to be made?

As a VAT-registered business, you are required to submit a VAT return four times throughout your financial year. This must be sent through no later than one month and seven days from end of the period in question. If you need to pay in any owed VAT, this must occur at the same time for most cases. The good news is that systems to pay VAT online are much better than they used to be.  A financial year does not have to keep to a calendar year and, similarly, your quarterly submission dates do not need to align to every three months through the year. 

What if you miss the deadline and submit a late return?

If HRMC does not receive your VAT return or the full VAT payment by the due date, you will have a “default” placed in your record. Additional fees and fines may be incurred as a result. Should you not default again through the next year, you have nothing to worry about and this status will fall away. However, if you do submit a late return and have another default recorded against you, there may be consequences in the form of fines and surcharges. 

This surcharge is usually calculated depending on the amount of VAT your still owe on the due date. Default penalties range from 2 percent to 15 percent for companies with annual revenue over £150,000. The percentage increase occurs with every further default through this period. 

There are some situations where you may avoid having to pay a surcharge on a late VAT return. This will be the case if you have still paid your VAT in full by the due date, if you don’t actually owe any tax or oif you are due a VAT refund. 

How to register to pay VAT online

If you are a VAT-registered business or self-employed, you must pay VAT on any purchases you make from other firms. VAT must also be charged on all sales made, whether they are to businesses or customers. As mentioned above, you will need to submit a VAT return every quarter and then pay any VAT owed as set out in that return. 

You must go through the procedure of registering on the UK government website to be able to pay your VAT bill online, even if your business is already VAT-registered. 

A User ID will be given to you once basic personal and company information has been entered into the system. Once your account has been authorised, you can pay your VAT bill online.

Time to settle that VAT bill

There are a few different ways that HMRC allow to pay any VAT owed from your return. 

If your payment does not arrive in HMRC’s bank account by the due date, you could face a serious fine or penalty. Your payment must be in their account no later than the last working day before the deadline if it falls on a weekend or holiday.

If you’ve run out of time and need the payment to arrive on the same or next day, you can use telephone banking, CHAPS, or your online bank account. If you have a bit of time and can allow three working days for the payment to arrive, then you can use a debit or corporate credit card, your bank or building society, or even a standing order.

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