HM Revenue and Customs
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VAT Online alert for businesses

VAT Online alert for businesses

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 02 December 2009

NAT 87/09

VAT-registered businesses are being urged to get ready now for major changes to VAT return filing and payment coming in next April.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has sent a leaflet to all 1.9m VAT-registered businesses to alert them to the fact that, from 1 April 2010, those with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more (excluding VAT) will have to file their VAT returns online and pay their VAT electronically.

Under the changes, businesses registering for VAT on or after 1 April 2010 will also have to file their return online and pay electronically, whatever their turnover.

To file a VAT return online, businesses new to HMRC’s online services need to register for the VAT Online service by visiting, clicking “Register” under the “New user” section and then following the instructions. Current HMRC online service users can add VAT Online to their portfolio in the ‘Services you can add’ section of ‘Your HMRC services’.

HMRC’s Stephen Banyard said:

“Filing your VAT return online has a number of benefits: it’s secure, convenient, does arithmetical checks and calculations for you, and provides you with an immediate online acknowledgement that your online return has been safely received by us.

“So, if your turnover is £100,000 or more, and you’re not already filing your VAT return online, sign-up now for VAT online services – that way, you’ll avoid a last-minute rush, and be able to enjoy the benefits of online filing sooner rather than later.”

HMRC will also be sending formal letters, in February 2010, to all existing businesses affected by the new online filing and electronic payment requirements, confirming that in future they must file online and pay electronically. And, from 1 April 2010, a letter explaining the requirement to file online will be included in all registration packs issued to newly registering VAT businesses. Both letters will be accompanied by a handy guide on registering for VAT Online.

Further help and advice, including an online demonstrator and a step-by-step guide to filing online, is available on HMRC’s website at, or by calling its VAT helpline on 0845 010 9000 (available between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday).

Notes to Editors

1. The new rules cover VAT returns filed, by those businesses affected by the changes, for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April 2010.

2. The HMRC mailing to 1.9m VAT-registered businesses also carries a reminder of two other changes coming into effect on 1 January 2010 – the reversion of the standard rate of VAT on 1 January 2010 to 17.5 per cent, and changes to EU cross-border VAT rules. Further details on these changes can be found by visiting and


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