2. Fill in your return

Complete and send your VAT Return online.

If you need help there’s guidance on:

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.

Exceptions

You can’t reclaim the VAT on:

There are special rules for working out how to reclaim VAT for:

Estimated figures

Ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for permission to use estimated figures. You’ll need a good reason why you can’t give accurate figures on your VAT Return.

If you’re allowed, you won’t 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.

Bad debts

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 and 4 years and 6 months old
  • you mustn’t have sold the debt on
  • you mustn’t 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.