A KIRKLEES accountancy firm has warned businesses that they must now file VAT returns online and pay any VAT due electronically to avoid penalties from the taxman.
Nigel Westman, partner of Clough & Company in Cleckheaton, said: “Most VAT registered businesses have been required to submit their VAT returns online since April, 2010, but these new rules which came into effect on the April 1, 2012, mean that all businesses must now do so.
“The only businesses exempt are those subject to an insolvency procedure but – if the business is subject to an approved Voluntary Arrangement, administration or trust deed – an online submission must still be made.
“If HM Revenue & Customs is satisfied that the business is run by practising members of a religious society, whose beliefs prevent them from using computers, then they are also exempt.
“But if these exemptions apply to a business then it is important that they confirm their position with Revenue & Customs and not assume that the exemption applies.
“If a business was VAT registered before April 1, 2010, and was first required to submit online returns from April 1, 2012, they will be charged a penalty if a paper return is submitted for the accounting periods ending on or after March 31, 2013.”
In addition to submitting VAT returns online, businesses must also pay any VAT due electronically. Said Mr Westman: “This generally gives businesses up to seven extra calendar days to submit their return and pay their VAT. There are some exceptions to this rule – for example, businesses which file annual returns and make payments on account.”
Businesses can pay the VAT due by Direct Debit, online, via telephone banking or by cheque at a bank or building society using a Bank Giro paying-in slip which must be obtained from Revenue & Customs.