Dealing with VAT returns can be complicated – so you need to know that your business is in good hands when it comes to filing accurate VAT returns and ensuring you claim back any VAT you're owed. You need to make regular VAT payments to HMRC, but calculating VAT can be challenging, especially if your business sells products and services to the EU and worldwide.
Our Chartered Certified Hertfordshire Accountants are on hand with friendly VAT advice – from guidance on completing a VAT return to what you can claim for and how to record VAT accurately. We can support you with our complete VAT services, including calculating VAT, ensuring you're not paying too much VAT to HMRC and filing your VAT returns.
What is VAT?
VAT stands for Value Added Tax. Introduced in the UK in 1973, it's a form of tax added to the sale price of some products, services and goods. Most places, shops, and industries will already have the VAT tax in the price. Businesses should always ensure they get a VAT receipt that shows:
- The VAT rate applied to the transaction usually a percentage such as 20%.
- The amount of VAT charged.
- The business's VAT number.
The standard VAT rate is 20% for most services and goods. Some products and services have a reduced VAT rate or are zero-rated for VAT, such as travel.
Who needs to pay VAT?
If your business has a turnover of £85,000, you must register to charge and pay VAT on your services and the products you buy and sell, even if you are a sole trader. You must charge your consumers VAT, file VAT returns and pay the VAT you've collected to HMRC. For compulsory registration, you must register if your business:
- Expects to have a VAT taxable turnover of £85,000 or more in the following 30-day period.
- Had a VAT taxable turnover of more than £85,000 over the last 12 months.
As a VAT registered business, you can claim back some VAT, including any business expenses and purchases you've paid VAT on. Claims should only be made on what you've bought for business purposes and not personal use. Keeping records will support your claims and show that you've paid VAT.
In all cases, talk to our team for advice on what VAT you can and cannot claim back to avoid filing an incorrect VAT return.
How to complete your VAT return
How you file your VAT returns depends on certain factors. Typically, VAT returns are completed and sent online, but there are other options, such as paper filing, which is helpful if:
- you object to using computers on religious grounds.
- you can't access a computer because of age, disability or if you don't have access to the internet.
If you choose to file your VAT returns yourself, follow the guidelines set by the government to submit your returns online. If you're worried about making mistakes, we are happy to help.
Contact us for a free consultation to understand how to make your job easier.
Remember – you may miss out on claiming back VAT on purchases your business makes, or you may be paying too much or too little VAT to HMRC, leading to fines.
How often should VAT returns be completed?
You should complete a VAT return to HMRC every three months (known as your accounting period). Included in a VAT return for your accounting period are:
- your total sales and purchases.
- the amount of VAT you owe.
- the amount of VAT you want to reclaim.
- what your HMRC VAT refund is.
Even if you have no VAT to pay or reclaim, you should submit a VAT return.
VAT returns and calculations can be incredibly complex. Our team removes the guesswork and ensures that your returns are accurate and filed on time to avoid missing VAT filing deadlines.
How AKE Accountancy can help with your VAT returns
We can help with all your VAT returns. We can handle your business's bookkeeping and complete your VAT returns or provide training on VAT returns if you wish to manage it yourself. We'll ensure you are efficiently supported and we are transparent about how we work.
If you choose us to manage everything for you, we will guarantee that VAT returns are completed in time, avoiding penalties. We can also assist with:
- applying for VAT registration.
- VAT planning.
- advice on VAT schemes suitable for your business.
- attendance at VAT inspections.
- dealing with any disputes, if they arise.
Call us today for more information and a free consultation and discussion of your accounts, books and general inquiries.
Get In Touch
Call us on 01707 247 777