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Online VAT Returns Compulsory From 01 April

I’ve previously mentioned some of the moves HM Revenue & Customs are taking to become more technologically friendly and accessible. They recently launched their ‘Super Podcast’ to share information about improvements and changes taking place shortly. One of the items discussed in the Super Podcast is the availability of completing VAT returns online rather than paper based.

From April this year, HMRC will be making it mandatory for any company with an annual turnover of £100,000 (excluding VAT) to file their VAT returns online. VAT payments then have to be made electronically and in doing so removing the option to pay by cheque. The online system has been trialled and rolled out for general use with feedback to date being quite positive. Quite a large number of St Matthew’s clients have already made the switch to online VAT returns.

My experiences of new online systems have been that most service providers cater only for the most technologically savvy and those with the latest hi-tech equipment. No so for the VAT online system. The HMRC online computer requirements are quite simple and don’t require major overhauls to most computers - this is great news for anyone operating a small business from home.

If you’re making your VAT returns using the paper based method (and have less than £100k turnover), there’s no need to register for the online filing just yet. However, it will be mandatory for any new VAT registrations from 01 April to file their returns online.

Judging by the steps HMRC are taking to get many of their services online, it appears that they will make the final crossover to online VAT returns for everyone by 2012.

With many of St Matthew’s customers already using the online VAT returns system, our advisors are well versed in the new system and only too happy to discuss your taxation needs and work out a solution together.


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