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HMRC internal manual

VAT Accounting Manual

Accounting for VAT: assistance with online filing

The vast majority of businesses are able to submit their returns online without any problem. Those that find it difficult can consider workarounds such as assistance from friends or family, using the facilities of a public library, or employing an agent.

There will be a small number of businesses with difficulty submitting online for whom none of these options are possible. It may in some cases be appropriate for businesses to use telephone filing in order to fulfil their legal obligation to submit online. Telephone filing allows HMRC to take the figures for the VAT return over the telephone and input these to the online system.

The VAT Regulations 1995 now specifically provide for the Commissioners to approve telephone filing as a form of electronic communication.

Only cases in which telephone filing is also unsuitable will be considered for exemption on grounds of age, disability or remoteness of location.

Businesses claiming to be unable to submit online should contact the VAT Helpline in the first instance.

Related public notice: Notice 700/12: how to fill in and submit your VAT return