VAT-registered firms check if they can file offline

The one month anniversary of rules permitting alternatives to online VAT filing in certain circumstances is being marked by people and traders checking whether they are in scope.

From July 1st, VAT regulations were changed to allow telephone filing where it is not reasonably practicable for taxpayers to file online -- or paper filing if neither is practicable.

Such taxpayers are people who are computer illiterate due to their age; those with a disability which makes computer use difficult or those who live where internet access is unreliable.

The regulations, guidance to which is available, also state that phone or paper filing may be offered to people if it is not reasonably practical for them to file online for another reason.

Any person or company wishing to file their VAT return otherwise than online and who fits the criteria is encouraged to contact HM Revenue & Customs by phone or post.

Such taxpayers must provide information they deem relevant, as HMRC will decide their eligibility for exemption from online VAT returns on the basis of the material supplied.

The rule change stems from a tribunal ruling that HMRC’s ‘online-only’ rule for VAT returns breached the human rights of three small business owners and was unlawful under EU law.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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