Fill in your return
Complete and send your VAT Return online.
If you need help there’s guidance on:
From 1 April 2019, most businesses will need to keep digital VAT records and use software to submit VAT Returns.
You must include EU sales on your VAT return and complete an EC Sales List.
Working out what you can claim
If your business is a charity, you pay VAT at a reduced rate on some goods and services.
VAT-registered businesses can usually reclaim the VAT they’ve paid on business purchases and expenses. The claim must be for a business activity (you have to work out the business element if it also had a personal use).
You must keep records to support your claim and show the VAT was paid.
You cannot reclaim the VAT on:
- entertainment expenses
- purchases if you use the VAT Flat Rate Scheme (except some capital assets worth more than £2,000)
There are special rules for working out how to reclaim VAT for:
- cars, for example buying, repairing, fuel costs
- staff travel expenses, for example accommodation and transport expenses
- businesses that are partly exempt from VAT
Ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for permission to use estimated figures. You’ll need a good reason why you cannot give accurate figures on your VAT Return.
If you’re allowed, you will not be charged a penalty unless you miss the deadline or make a careless or deliberate error. You’ll normally have to give the correct figures in your next VAT Return.
You can reclaim the VAT you’ve paid HMRC but not received from a customer if it’s a ‘bad debt’ (one you’ve written off). To qualify for the relief:
- the debt must be between 6 months old and 4 years and 6 months old
- you must not have sold the debt on
- you must not have charged more than the normal price for the item
You should reclaim them via your VAT Return (add them to your Box 4 figure) and keep records about the debt.
If the debt is paid, you must pay the relief back via your VAT Return by adding the amount to your ‘Box 1’ figure.