Usually, if you’ve charged your customers less VAT than you’ve paid on your purchases, HM Revenue & 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 does it take?

Repayments are usually paid electronically into your bank account within 10 working days of HMRC getting your VAT Return.

Sometimes it takes longer (up to 21 days) and may do if HMRC has a query about your VAT.

If it takes longer than 30 days (from the end of your accounting period) you may get compensation (known as a ‘repayment supplement’). This is either £50 or 5% of your repayment (whichever is the higher amount).

You won’t get compensation if, for example, your VAT Returns have been late or incorrect. HMRC will write and let you know.

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