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December 2011

April VAT alert for businesses

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued an alert to VAT-registered businesses across the UK about important changes that come into effect this spring.

From 1 April 2012 all VAT-registered businesses must send their VAT returns online and pay their VAT electronically. In the current situation, only newly-registered businesses, and those with turnovers of more than £100,000, have to file and pay their VAT online.

The new rules will cover VAT returns filed for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2012.

As the deadline becomes closer, there is expected to be a last-minute rush. Therefore we would recommend switching now, and you will start enjoying the benefits of online filing sooner rather than later.

The benefits include:

• An automatic acknowledgement that your return has been received;
• A handy arithmetic checker to help make sure you’ve done your sums correctly
• An email alert to remind you when your next online return is due (as, after April, HMRC will stop sending out paper returns to customers who are now required to file online.

There are only two exceptions to this new rule and they are;

• where the business is insolvent or
• where run by people who are practising members of a religious group whose beliefs are incompatible with the use of computers.

To file your VAT return online, you’ll need to register for HMRC’s VAT Online Service – visit www.online.hmrc.gov.uk and click “Register” under the “New user” section. Then follow the instructions.

Affected businesses will also need to set up their preferred electronic payment method. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/vat.htm for more information on the various options.

For more information on this, or if you would like somebody to process your online VAT return for you, please contact us today.