HMRC internal manual

VAT Accounting Manual

VATAC1200 - Accounting for VAT: online VAT returns

Regulation 25A of the VAT Regulations 1995 contains the rules for submission of VAT returns. Virtually all VAT registered businesses are required to submit their returns online and pay any VAT due electronically for accounting. For information on the limited exemptions from this see VATAC1250.

Regulation 25A(8) provides that an electronic return must be in a form approved by the Commissioners in a specific or general direction. A general direction is part of the Legal Conditions (HMRC website) for using online services. These approve returns submitted using the Online VAT Return Service or the XML VAT Returns Service.

For more information see the VAT Returns guide on GOV.UK.

Electronic Payment

Online VAT returns must be paid electronically using Direct Debit, debit or credit card over the internet, Bacs direct credit, internet/telephone banking, faster payment, CHAPS or bank giro. For full details see Pay your VAT bill (GOV.UK). This section also provides details of additional time to pay that is allowed for electronic payments (see also VATAC1300).

The legal provision for compulsory electronic payment of online returns is in regulation 40(2A).