Preparation is key to ensuring your VAT return is completed accurately and on time. The use of a computerised accounting package that includes the facility to submit the VAT return online to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) straight from the program should make the process very quick and straightforward. Provided of course that you do your accounts regularly.
There are a couple of simple things you need to do to set up the online submission. You need to register and enroll for VAT returns online services via the HMRC website. return4refund Once you have logged your interest you’ll be sent an activation code by post. According to HMRC’s site you really don’t have to even wait for that but you will be able to get started. Basically follow all the instructions from HMRC and you should soon get yourself set up to send over your VAT return. A suitable computerised accounting package will then make it simple to forward your VAT return straight to the revenue. Sending the VAT return can be done almost instantly with a click of a button. It is therefore important to ensure you are using an accounting program that is compatible with HMRC’s VAT online return system.
Once you have submitted your VAT return, you should see some sort of an acknowledgement page with a unique receipt reference number from HMRC. Make a note of this, in fact you should also print it out so that you keep a hard copy of this important information (just as you would do for any important document). In fact HMRC keep copies of the data online for a certain number of months (at the time of writing 15 months), but to be sure of keeping a good audit trail you must make your own physical copies. Since any business owner in the UK needs to keep at least 6 years’ accounts by law this is always a good idea. Once you have set up your email account to receive information from HMRC you should also receive email confirmations but see HMRC if in doubt about how to do this.
It is extremely important to be conscious of the deadlines set by HMRC as failure to submit returns on time will incur late payment charges. Once registered with VAT returns online services, the business will be able to request free email reminders when your returns are due.
Once you have submitted your return online, you must then pay any VAT monies due electronically. There are a number of available methods to pay the VAT due, including payment by Direct Debit, telephone/internet banking or debit/credit card over the internet. The deadline for payment will be shown on your online return. Make sure you allow enough days to let the funds reach HMRC before the deadline is reached. Don’t leave it to the last minute as you may end up incurring charges for late payment.
Undertaking your VAT online return can be made particularly straightforward through the use of a good computerised accounting package compatible with the HMRC VAT online system. In summary, if you ensure your business records are maintained accurately and up to date throughout the year and if you use a well constructed and easy to use accounting program that is recognised by HMRC you should be able to be 100% successful at getting those VAT returns submitted online on time. For some HMRC online VAT filing approved software see this link: