VAT is a type of sales tax added to the sale of certain items in the UK. If you wish to get assistance with, or find out more about VAT, call the VAT helpline on 0844 826 0548.
Other Contact Numbers for VAT
|Business Helpline||0844 826 0548|
|Head Office||0844 248 2664|
|Refunds||0844 826 0548|
VAT Head Office Address
|Head Office||100 Parliament St, London, SW1A 2BQ|
The VAT Helpline opening hours
To charge VAT, your business needs to be registered for it. VAT is a type of tax charged on goods/services, selling assets, commission, hiring goods, items which have been sold to staff, and on-sales e.g. part exchanges and gifts. Once you have registered as a business, you’ll need to charge VAT on the above products/services and reclaim any VAT you have paid on services/goods which relate to your business. You’ll also need to submit a VAT return to HMRC every three months.
Whilst the Government does not provide an official VAT calculator, there are plenty available online. Try this one from VATcalculator.co.uk. It allows you to use a slider to change the rate of VAT so that you can effectively work out your calculations. You can find information about the current VAT rates on the Government website- the rates vary depending on what is being sold and who is buying them.
If your business has a VAT taxable turnover of over £83,000, you will be required to register for VAT. Once you have registered, you will be sent a certificate with your VAT number on and details of when to send your first VAT return. You also have the option to register voluntarily if you have a turnover of less than £83,000. You can’t charge VAT until you receive your number, but you must still pay VAT to HMRC. You can register for VAT online via the Government website. Alternatively, you could hire an accountant to manage your VAT dealings on your behalf. You should get your certificate with your VAT number on within 14 days- it’s sent to either your online account or via post if you didn’t register online or your accountant registered on your behalf. To register, you will need to provide information about your business activity and your turnover. You will also need to give your bank details.
Note that you need to register within 30 days of your business reaching the £83,000 threshold. If you fail to, you could be charged a late registration penalty by HMRC.
The VAT threshold is currently £83,000- if your turnover is that amount, or over that you’ll need to register for VAT following the above steps. The threshold for businesses based overseas which sell into the UK is £70,000. If you’re bringing goods into the UK from the EU, the threshold is the same as a UK business at £83,000.
Every three months, businesses are required to submit VAT returns to HMRC. The timeframe is known as your accounting period. You’ll need to record information such as total sales/purchases, how much VAT you owe, how much VAT you can claim back and the refund amount from HMRC. Even if you don’t have any VAT to pay/reclaim, you’ll still need to provide HMRC with a VAT return. If you have an online VAT account, you can sign up to get email alerts when your return is due to be submitted. A return is completed and submitted online and there is plenty of guidance to help with filling it out. If you’re reclaiming VAT, ensure that you have kept records to show that the VAT was paid. You can’t reclaim VAT for entertainment expenses.
If you are unable to provide confirmed figures on your VAT return for any reason, you need to ask permission from HMRC regarding the use of estimated figures, with a reason as to why you can’t provide the accurate figures.
You can check when your VAT returns are due using your online account. The deadline for payment is usually a month and seven days after the end of the three-month period.
You should pay your VAT by Direct Debit or by using your bank’s online banking service. If you can’t pay this way, contact HMRC.
VAT isn’t charged on the following products/services, so if your business sells only these, you won’t need to pay VAT:
- Finance, credit and insurance
- Training and education
- Charity fundraising events
- Membership organisation subscriptions
- Selling/letting/leasing commercial land or buildings.
If you sell a mixture of taxable and exempt supplies, keep a record of your sales that are exempt as well as information about how you have worked out the amount of VAT that you need to reclaim. You can opt to charge VAT on the sale/letting/leasing of commercial buildings/land if you wish to. If you opt for this, you should charge VAT at the standard rate.
Questions people are asking about VAT
Which VAT scheme is right for my business?
There are several VAT schemes available, including a flat rate scheme. A flat rate scheme means you pay a flat rate of VAT across all sales and purchases. This scheme is usually beneficial to businesses with a small turnover and a small amount of sales which they are liable to pay VAT on. If you are unsure about a VAT scheme, seek financial advice from HMRC or an accountant.
Are VAT surcharges tax deductible?
VAT surcharges are not tax deductible.
Are VAT inspections routine?
You’ll normally be given seven days notice if a HMRC VAT officer is coming to visit your business. However, they can also arrive without giving you notice.
About VAT in the UK
VAT was first introduced by the UK Government in 1973. Since then, it has risen in importance to become the third most prominent source of Government revenue, behind income tax and national insurance.
If you wish to find out more information about VAT, call the VAT Helpline.