From 1 April 2012 HM Revenue & Customs will no longer accept paper VAT Returns. Once you have registered for Online VAT you should follow the following steps to submit your VAT Returns online.

Before you attempt to submit a VAT Return online you should calculate the figures in the normal manner, the only difference being is that you will no longer receive paper VAT returns, the figures instead being entered online.

  1. Open your internet browser and visit;
  2. On the left hand side enter your User ID and password;
  3. Beside ‘Submit a VAT Return’ click ‘Access Service’;
  4. At the ‘At a Glance’ page page click on ‘Submit a return’;
  5. Here there will be a list of all outstanding VAT Returns (if your VAT is up to date there should only be one option here i.e. the latest VAT period);
  6. Now the nine boxes appear (the same nine boxes that appear on a paper VAT return). Fill them in as you normally would (except boxes 3 & 5 – the website will automatically calculate these for you). If any box is NIL enter ‘0’;
  7. Click ‘Next’ and you can now review your VAT Return. Please note that once a VAT Return is submitted it cannot be amended. If any corrections are required at this stage click ‘Back’, otherwise click ‘Submit’;
  8. You must now enter your User ID and password again for security purposes;
  9. Once the Submission Receipt appears print it out or save a copy to your computer;
  10. You can now print a copy of the VAT Return. You should keep these in a safe place.


If you submit a VAT Return online you must also pay any VAT that is due electronically. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Direct Debit. This means HM Revenue & Customs will collect the payment from your chosen bank account. To set up a direct debit:-

  1. Log in to VAT Online services;
  2. Beside ‘Submit a VAT Return’ click ‘Access Service’; 
  3. On the ‘At a Glance’ page click the ‘Set up a Direct Debit Instruction’ link; 
  4. Enter and confirm the bank details for the account you wish to pay the VAT from; 
  5. Re-enter your User Id and password for security purposes and submit.

Please note you need to set up this Direct Debit instruction at least 2 full banking days before the payment is due, in order for the request to be processed in time. Once you have set it up once it will continue to automatically collect any future liabilities.