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HMRC internal manual

VAT Annual Accounting Scheme

Structure of the annual accounting year: The annual VAT return

Normally, we are unable to issue a VAT return for a period longer than 12 months. A business may receive a short period return when it joins the scheme if it requested a year end which would make the annual accounting year longer than 12 months.

However, if a business is applying to use the annual accounting scheme from its Effective Date of Registration, then it is possible to have an annual period which is 12 months and 30 days (maximum). Any additional days will not be used when calculating the interim payments or when they are due.

In addition, the annual accounting system does not issue VAT return periods which are shorter than 3 months. As a result there may be instances when, because of the requested annual accounting year end date, a business will receive one or more short period VAT returns before a 12 month return.

The law governing this policy is contained in Articles 250(2) and 252 of the Principal VAT Directive, which state:

250(2) Member States shall allow, and may require, the VAT return…to be submitted by electronic means, in accordance with conditions which they lay down.

252(1) The VAT return shall be submitted by a deadline to be determined by Member States. That deadline may not be more than two months after the end of each tax period.

252(2) The tax period shall be set by each Member State at one month, two months or three months.

Member States may, however, set different tax periods provided that those periods do not exceed one year.