From 1 April 2010, all businesses – except those with an annual turnover under £100,000, unless registered after 1 April 2010 – will be required to file online. The online filing system has been up and running for some time now, so there is no need to wait until 2010. Find out how to get started now! How to register To register, go to the HMRC website and follow these instructions. You will need to have to hand your VAT registration number, the address shown on your VAT returns, the effective date of your registration, last VAT return period and the net tax figure on the last VAT return you submitted. Select VAT on the home page From the right hand side drop down menu select ‘register for VAT’ Select ‘registration process for new users’ Follow the steps to register, provide the requested information and agree the terms and conditions. During this process you will receive a user ID and be prompted to set a password and you will get immediate authorisation to use the online filing system. Approximately 7 to 10 days later, you will receive a PIN number and a reminder of your User ID. You only need the PIN number if you wish to use the online service to make alterations to your VAT registration details and you must activate the PIN number within 28 days. If you use an agent, they are able to register to submit returns on your behalf. Online filing has a number of advantages 24/7 access An initial return check is carried out so that any obvious errors are identified early 7 day extension to file your return Instant acknowledgement of receipt The ability to nominate an agent Access to your registration to make changes Apart from not receiving paper returns in the post and possible system crashes, the only disadvantage of online filing is that direct payment must also be made electronically. To do this you can use direct debit, BACS, CHAPS, Bank Giro, internet and telephone banking, so cash by post that will no longer be accepted. You will be pay able to pay by cheque if you wish, however, you won’t be able to send the cheque directly to HMRC, as you may do now. Instead, you will have to pay the cheque in at a bank or building society that accepts Bank Giro credits, using a Bank Giro Credit slip from a book that can be ordered from HMRC. About the Author Debra Dougal is a member of UK200Group Tax Panel and VAT Partner at Haslers, London. UK200Group is the leading mutual professional association in the UK with over 110 UK quality assured independent accountancy firms and lawyer firms, as well as 50 International Associate member firms around the globe. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.uk200group.co.uk. UK200Group is an association of separate and independently owned and managed accountancy and lawyer firms. UK200Group does not provide client services and it does not accept responsibility or liability for the acts or omissions of its members. Likewise, the members of UK200Group are separate and independent legal entities, and as such each has no responsibility or liability for the acts or omissions of other members.
From 1 April 2010, all but the smallest businesses – those with an annual turnover under £100,000 – and all businesses registered after 1 April 2010 will be required to file VAT returns online.