Vat Returns like all other returns need to be filled in and submitted within time on paper or electronically; failing which, you’re liable to late fees and penalties. If you’re sending in your return by post the address for correspondence is VAT Central Unit, Alexander House, Southend-On-Sea, Essex, SS99 1AA. If in case you lose your return you should immediately contact National Advice Service to avoid late fees.
In cases when you are incapable of making an accurate return within the stipulated time period you may contact a local VAT Business Advice Center and seek to use an estimated figure instead. The VAT Business Advice Centers must also be contacted in cases when the nature of your business or your business situation changes. There is something called the ‘nil return’ and may be applicable to you when you’ve either not traded during the period or do not have any VAT on purchases and sales during the period. If you’re filing the ‘nil return’ you should fill in every box with ‘none’ in paper returns and ‘0.00’ in electronic forms. When you make mistakes on your VAT return it will be sent back to you with a letter explaining where you went wrong and how to correct it.
If there is an error in your previous VAT returns, you can correct it either in your current VAT return (for amounts less than £2000.00) or by contacting the VAT Business Advice Center (for amounts more than £2000.00). In cases when you find yourself financially crunched and unable to pay your VAT charges you should still fill in and submit your VAT return to the VAT Central Unit, but you can write to the VAT Business Advice Center explaining your situation. However, please note that you cannot pay by post-dated cheques.
If you’re due for a repayment from the HM Revenue and Customs you usually receive it within two weeks. If, however, you do not receive your repayment amount within three weeks you may write to the National Advice Service. In cases when your repayment has been overly delayed you will be entitled to a compensatory payment. At times the HM Revenue and Customs may send you an Assessment stating that you haven’t filed a return. If you receive this, you should immediately send in your return, or if you get this in mistake you should contact the local VAT Business Advice Center.
Before you send in your return or submit it electronically you should always ensure that you’ve filled in every box, included your bad debt relief, repaid all bad debts claimed, taken into account all errors below £2000.00, signed and dated the return, put your VAT registration number at the back of the cheque, informed the VAT Business Advice Center of your bank details for repayment purposes, not stapled cheques on to the return.
Also, you should check that the figures you’ve put in are all correct. If you follow standard rates, the figure in box 1 is usually 17.5 percent of the figure in box 6, the figure in box 5 is the same as the difference between the figures in box 3 and 4, the value of the figure in box 8 won’t be more than that of box 6 and the value of the figure in box 9 will not be more than that of box 7.
HM Revenue and Customs invites comments, feedback, and suggestions from you.