VAT Return Dates & Payment Deadlines

I’ve updated this post on 5 August 2020 for the latest changes in legislation

Even though Making Tax Digital changed HOW businesses submit their VAT returns, it has not affected the VAT return deadlines and payments dates.

Here’s an overview of all the dates and deadlines you need to know about, whether you submit quarterly VAT returns, monthly or annually.

VAT Rates have been cut from 20% to 5% for hospitality and tourism businesses from between the 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 as part of financial support being offered by the government due to Covid-19. Find out more about the temporary VAT cut.

VAT Return Deadlines

VAT return dates vary from business to business, but they always fall at the end of a calendar month (unless you are deregistering and submitting your final return).

When a business becomes VAT registered they are given a choice of which month they would like to report on for VAT.

The date can be selected as part of the registration process. Alternatively, a VAT return date can be changed using a VAT484 form (more on that later).

Businesses commonly follow the advice of their accountants when they VAT register choosing a VAT return date that matches their financial year.

That way it saves time at year-end reconciling VAT.

The VAT return date a business chooses also depends on the VAT scheme they have registered for.

How to Check Your VAT Return Date

Since VAT return due date differs between businesses, you’ll need to check what your own VAT return deadlines are.

You can check a VAT return date by logging into your HMRC Government Gateway Account.

Once logged into your HMRC Government Gateway Account you’ll be presented with a summary dashboard for your VAT account and next options.

VAT account dashboard
How to Find Your VAT Deadline

You’ll see your next VAT deadline on the dashboard, but if you click on “View Return Deadlines” you’ll be able to see what period your next return is for.

Read More: Where to Find Your HMRC User ID and Password

Quarterly VAT Return Deadline

Quarterly VAT return dates are due for submission 1 month and 7 days after the of a VAT quarter.

For example, a VAT return for the quarter-end June 2019 would be due by 7 August 2019.

Monthly VAT Return Deadline

Monthly VAT return dates are also due for submission 1 month and 7 days after the of a VAT month.

For example, a VAT return for the month-end August 2019 would need to be filed by 7 October 2019.

Annual VAT Return Deadline

The VAT Annual Accounting Scheme allows businesses to file one VAT return each year. It helps ease administration and businesses to better manage cash flow.

An annual VAT return is due 2 months after the end of your VAT period.

Changes to VAT Returns Deadlines for Covid-19

As part of the stimulus package announced by the Chancellor to help the economy through the Coronavirus pandemic, changes were made to the VAT deadline for payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

These changes mean that any VAT due during this period can be deferred until 31 March 2021. You can pay any VAT you owe prior to this date, you must make sure your VAT bill is settled by the deadline.

You don’t actually need to do anything to take advantage of this payment deferral, you can simply not pay. But if you have any standing orders or direct debits you should cancel these yourself because they will continue to be taken.

VAT Payment Dates

For monthly and quarterly VAT returns, the VAT payment date is the same as the filing deadline.

That means both the VAT return and VAT payment are due 1 month and 7 days after the end of the VAT period.

With Annual Accounting, there are monthly VAT payment deadlines, which will be set out by HMRC on joining the scheme.

A final VAT payment is then due 2 months after the end of the VAT period, along with the VAT return to balance up any underpayments from the monthly instalments.

In summary, the HMRC VAT return payment dates for the annual accounting scheme work like this:

PaymentVAT Payment Deadline
MonthlyDue at the end of months 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12
QuarterlyDue at the end of months 4, 7 and 10
Final paymentWithin 2 months of month 12
VAT Payment Dates for the Annual Accounting Scheme

Changing VAT Quarter Dates

You can change your VAT return date either online or by post. Typical reasons businesses choose to make a change is;

  • To match their financial year-end;
  • For a VAT deadline that matches business cashflow;
  • To ease business administration.

A VAT return date cannot be changed once the return has been issued online. All changes apply to future returns.

How to Change Your VAT Quarter Date Online

You can change a VAT quarter date by logging into your HMRC Government Gateway Account.

Once logged in you need to select the option “Your Business Details” from the dashboard.

Then you’ll need to choose the option to “Change” VAT Return Dates.

How to Change Your VAT Quarter Date Online

HMRC will then present you with the new quarterly and monthly VAT return deadline options available to you.

How to Change Your VAT Quarter Date By Post (VAT484)

You can change your VAT return date by completing a form VAT484 form and posting it to HMRC.

It is a paper form that you can find online to use if you want to notify HMRC of changes to certain details of a VAT registered business including:

  • Address
  • Bank details
  • VAT return dates
VAT484 Form

The form can be downloaded online and then printed off. It’ll need to be signed by a registered person of the business. For example, a Director or sole proprietor if you are self-employed.

Once you have completed your VAT484 form, you’ll need to post the form back to HMRC at:

Grimsby National Registration Service,
HM Revenue and Customs,
Imperial House,
77 Victoria Street,
DN31 1DB

What Happens If You’re Late Submitting Your VAT Return?

If you’re late submitting your VAT return and/or paying your VAT, then HMRC considers you in default.

When you are in default there are two types of penalties HMRC can charge you:

  1. Surcharges and;
  2. Penalties.

Surcharges are generally levied at a fixed percentage based on business turnover for failing for VAT returns that are filed late or on late VAT payments.

Penalties are charged on errors, mistakes and inaccuracies.

I’ve put together a complete guide to Penalties and Surcharges on VAT Late Payments where I go through exactly how HMRC calculates penalties.

How to File Your UK VAT Return

Changes brought in from April 2020 mean that the way you have to file your VAT returns have changed.

This is known as Making Tax Digital and requires all businesses with a turnover of over £85,000 to:

  1. Sign Up for Making Tax Digital;
  2. Maintain their books digitally;
  3. File their VAT returns using an HMRC Approved Software.

Even though your VAT quarter dates are unaffected, you’ll need to check when your first Making Tax Digital Return is due. This is because the way you file your VAT return will change.

Previously many people opted to file their VAT returns directly on the HMRC website. This has been phased out. VAT returns must be sent via an approved bookkeeping software like Quickbooks.

How to Sign Up for Making Tax Digital

You’ll need to sign up separately for Making Tax Digital on the HMRC website.

You’ll need your Government Gateway user ID and password to hand, so you can sign in to complete your registration.

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Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of - a UK small business finance blog where she shares help and advice with the self-employed community to make topics like registering a business, bookkeeping and taxes easy to understand.