Accountants should prepare to file their VAT returns online

Accountants need to be aware that important changes regarding VAT come into force next April.

HMRC wants to alert all UK businesses registered for VAT that as from the first of April 2012, VAT returns must be filed online and VAT payments made electronically. Under the current rules, only businesses with a turnover in excess of £100,000, and those companies that have newly-registered, need to use the online system for filing and paying their VAT.

The new changes will affect VAT returns for accounting periods starting on or after April 1st, 2012.

HMRC says it makes sense to switch to online filing now. Not only will this mean firms can avoid the last-minute rush, but they will also be able to take advantage of the benefits of online filing.

One a return is filed online, the sender receives an automatic acknowledgement that it has been received. The system checks the maths to make sure the sums have been done correctly and companies will receive an email alert to tell them when their next online VAT return is due.

In order to use the online system, businesses first need to register on the HMRC website. They will also have to set up a preferred method for making electronic payments. More information on the various options can be found HERE.

HMRC also has a VAT Online Services Helpdesk which is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and can be contacted on 0845 010 8500.

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