VAT Return Dates & Payment Deadlines

Even though making tax digital changed how businesses submit their VAT returns online, it has not affected VAT return deadlines and payments dates.

Here’s an overview of all the VAT due dates and deadlines you need to know about so you can plan for your VAT filings & payments, whether you submit quarterly monthly or annual returns. I’ll also show you how to change your VAT return dates with HMRC, using a form known as a VAT484 so you can change your VAT payments deadlines to something that might better suit your business.

Confused by VAT? Read this guide to understand What VAT is and How it Works

Updated 11 August 2021

When it comes to VAT returns, there are two dates to be aware of:

  • The VAT return filing date (the form containing the numbers HMRC want to know) and;
  • The VAT payment date (the money shown on the VAT return as owed to HMRC).

In most cases these dates are the same, but, for some using certain VAT schemes, they can be different. It is important to understand each filing and payment deadline, even if they are the same, because missing either attracts different types of penalties.

1. VAT Return Dates

Online 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 you register for VAT you will have been given a choice of which month you’d like to report on for VAT, depending on the VAT scheme chosen. You will have selected a date as part of the registration process, so you can login online to check your VAT return date.

2. How to Check Your HMRC VAT Quarters

You can check a VAT quarter date by simply 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.

3. VAT Return Filing Deadlines

The filing deadline for your return depends on the type of VAT scheme you are signed up for. Most businesses are signed up for traditional VAT, which means they must submit quarterly returns. However annual and monthly VAT returns can be submitted, with the agreement of HMRC;

  • 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 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 returns are due 2 months after the end of your VAT period.

4. VAT Payment Dates

For monthly and quarterly VAT returns, the VAT due date on 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. For example, a VAT return for the quarter from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 would be due for filing and payment by 7 July 2021.

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

5. How to Change VAT Quarter Dates

You can change your HMRC 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.

5.1 Changing VAT Quarters 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.

5.2. Changing VAT Quarters By Post (VAT484)

You can change your VAT return date by completing a form VAT484 form and posting it to HMRC. A VAT 484 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,
Grimsby
DN31 1DB

6. What Happens If You Miss Your VAT Return Deadlines?

If you miss your online VAT return deadline and/or VAT payment date, 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.

7. How to File Your UK VAT Return Online

Changes brought in from April 2019 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 on a bookkeeping software, not a spreadsheet;
  3. File their VAT returns from their bookkeeping software, like Xero, directly to HMRC.

8. How to Sign Up for Making Tax Digital Online

You’ll need to sign up separately for MTD 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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About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.