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How to file VAT returns online

Last updated: 31 March 2022

How to file VAT returns online

If you decide to submit VAT returns online you will certainly reduce paperwork. You will receive an online acknowledgement so you can be certain when the job is finished and get help to ensure the accuracy and completeness of figures. By using electronic payment methods you also gain seven extra calendar days to pay your VAT.

There are two VAT services online (known as eVAT). If you use the service not only do you not have to complete a paper return, but it is also then easy to change registration details such as business address or bank details.

To register for VAT returns online there is a simple six step service which you can use once HM Revenue & Customs know about your business. There is a seven day break between steps five and six, while you wait for your PIN to activate your account. Once you have enrolled and have your user ID and password you can deal with the relevant departments – for example HM Revenue or Customs House – as you require.

Before you enrol you must have your VAT registration number, the date of registration and the postcode for the address used by the HM Revenue & Customs when you send the VAT returns. All these are on your certificate of registration for VAT (VAT4) .You also need the month of the last VAT return period (i.e. when it ended) and the amount you entered on your last return. If you are new to VAT and did not submit a return simple enter zero. Enter all the details asked for to verify your identity and register with the Government Gateway if you haven’t an account already. Once you have entered your details, such as email address and full name, simply choose a password and you will receive your user ID. A week later you will get your Activation PIN which will be sent to the registered address for your company. Simply use the user ID, password and Activation PIN to activate the service and you will be taken to the relevant websites, where you can use the online services. If you also use another on-line government service you will get a new Activation PIN for each service, although you will keep your user ID.

Remember that if you use the eVAT service, you will also make payments electronically using either direct debit, BACs, CHAPS or Bank Giro Credit transfer. If you pay by direct debit you may get seven extra days from the standard due date for your return and a further three working days before payment is collected from your bank account. BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services) takes around three working days, and you will need to update your systems to BACSTEL-IP if you do not use your bank’s online or electronic payment system. CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) allows same day clearance if made on a bank working day and Bank Giro Credit Transfer takes around three working days to clear.

Setting up to use the eVAT service can give peace of mind. You get an online acknowledgement when your return is received, which gives you confidence that the job is done and allowing you to track progress. On-line help and validation assure the completeness and accuracy of transactions made, thus reducing the scope for errors. But, perhaps best of all is the reduced paperwork and the knowledge that there are no forms to fill in and post!

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