How to submit your VAT return online

If you are registered for VAT then you will need to submit quarterly VAT returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which are usually completed online. This article will explain the process involved in completing and submitting your quarterly VAT return online.  

Registering for VAT

If your Limited company has an annual gross income which exceeds the VAT threshold (currently £82,000 FY 2015/2016) then you are required to register for VAT. Companies that earn over the VAT threshold, but do not register for VAT run the risk of being fined. VAT registration takes place online via the HMRC website. Once you have registered for VAT and received your VAT registration number, you will then need to create a VAT account through the Government Gateway. This will allow you to submit your quarterly VAT returns online.

What do I need to submit a VAT return online?

To submit a VAT return online you will need your VAT number and figures including the total amount that you have charged in VAT for the quarter, which is known as your output tax, and the total amount that you have incurred in VAT through company purchases, this is known as your input tax.

Once you have everything you need, login to HMRC online services to the same account that you created when you registered.

Completing your VAT return

Once you have selected the correct form for the quarter you will see a series of boxes, which will need to be filled in with the correct figures.

Box 1: VAT due in this period on sales and other outputs

This figure will be the total amount that you have charged in VAT during the period or your output tax.

Box 2: The VAT due in the period on acquisitions from other Member States of the European Community (EC)

The amount for box 2 is the total that you have paid in VAT on goods or services from suppliers who are registered in other EC Member States.

Box 3: Total VAT due

This will be the total of boxes 1 and 2 added together, which the form will calculate for you.

Box 4: VAT reclaimed in the period on purchases and other inputs (including acquisitions from the EC)

In this box you are required to fill in the total amount of VAT that you have paid on business purchases, or your input tax. Remember that you must have VAT receipts or invoices to support all purchases.

Box 5: Net VAT to be paid to HMRC or reclaimed

This figure will be the difference between boxes 3 and 4, the form will calculate this figure for you.

Box 6: Total value of sales and other outputs excluding any VAT

In this box you will need to state the total amount of business sales excluding VAT.

Box 7: Total value of purchases and all other inputs excluding VAT

State the total amount that you have incurred in company purchases excluding VAT.

Box 8: Total value of all suppliers of goods and related costs, excluding any VAT, to other EC Member States

You will only need to complete this box if your company has supplied goods to another EC Member state. If that is relevant to you then you must state the total value of the goods or services that has been supplied including any related costs (such as delivery charges) excluding VAT.

Box 9: Total value of all acquisitions of goods and related costs, excluding any VAT, from other EC Member States

You will only need to complete box 9 if your business has acquired goods from another EC Member State. If this is the case then you must state the total value of goods that you have received from the EC Member State and services related to those goods (such as delivery charges), excluding VAT.

Submitting your VAT return

Once all the boxes have been completed and you are sure that the figures you have entered are correct, all that is left to do is to submit your return. HMRC will then review your return and calculate your VAT liability, which could either be a VAT bill or refund. If you have a VAT bill to pay this will usually need to be paid by the deadline stated on your VAT return. It is important to make sure that you have made the payment by the deadline as you may be required to pay a surcharge if you don’t pay your bill on time.

Editor's Note: This article was provided by SJD Accountancy. If you would like any more information about completing your VAT return or about contracting in general, please get in touch with a member of SJD Accountancy’s new client services team on 0500 152500/01442 275789 or email