When to do a VAT Return

A VAT Return is a form you fill in to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) how much VAT you’ve charged and how much you’ve paid to other businesses.

You usually need to send a VAT Return to HMRC every 3 months. This is known as your ‘accounting period’.

If you’re registered for VAT, you must submit a VAT Return even if you have no VAT to pay or reclaim.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).


The deadline for submitting your return online is usually one calendar month and 7 days after the end of an accounting period. This is also the deadline for paying HMRC. You need to allow time for the payment to reach HMRC’s account.

Use your online account to:

  • find out when your VAT Returns are due
  • find out when the payment must clear HMRC’s account
  • check and appeal penalties

If you use the VAT annual accounting scheme, you can set up an email reminder each time your VAT Return is due through your online account.