Usually, if you’ve charged your customers less VAT than you’ve paid on your purchases, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) repay you the difference.

When you complete the boxes on your VAT Return, the information you enter will show you the:

  • total amount of VAT charged - Box 3
  • total amount of VAT paid - Box 4

You’re due a repayment if the figure in Box 3 is less than the figure in Box 4.

How much you’re repaid is the figure shown in Box 5 of your VAT Return.

How long it takes

Repayments are usually made within 10 working days of HMRC getting your VAT Return. They go direct to your bank account.

Contact HMRC if you haven’t heard anything after 21 days. You may get compensation (known as a ‘repayment supplement’) if HMRC takes longer than 30 days to approve (‘authorise’) your repayment.

The 30 days starts from the day HMRC receives your VAT Return and ends the day your repayment is approved, not the day you get it.

HMRC doesn’t count days taken to check your return is accurate and legitimate, and to correct any errors or omissions, as part of this 30-day period.

The repayment supplement is £50 or 5% of your repayment - whichever is the higher amount.

If your return is received before the end of the accounting period it’s for, the 30 days will start at the end of the period.

You won’t get a repayment supplement if, eg:

  • HMRC receives your VAT return after your payment deadline
  • you made errors on your return that reduce your claim by more than 5% or £250 (whichever is higher)
  • you have earlier returns missing at the time your current return is received by HMRC