Kevin McLeod
Written By Kevin McLeod
Licensed Insolvency Practitioner
July 21st, 2023

If you are registered to pay VAT then it is your responsibility to make sure your returns are submitted and paid on time. For this reason, it is essential you understand the basics of how to make payments to avoid any unexpected surprises or late payment of VAT.

What are the Deadlines for Filing and Paying your VAT Returns?

Unless a business is in trouble with HMRC or receives regular repayment then it will normally submit its VAT returns quarterly or annually.

  • Quarterly – If you submit your VAT returns on a quarterly basis then you must file your return online with HMRC and pay your bill by midnight one calendar month and seven days after the end of the quarter. That means, if you are submitting your VAT return for the quarter ending 31 March 2017, the deadline for paying your bill is 7 May 2015.
  • Annually – Some businesses use the Annual Accounting Scheme for VAT purposes. In that case, you submit your VAT return once a year and have to make advance payments towards your VAT bill for the next year based on your last return. These are known as payments on account. If you use the Annual Accounting Scheme, your VAT return must be filed and paid two months after the end of your accounting period.   
  • Monthly – HMRC may ask you to file and pay your VAT return monthly if you have struggled to make payments in the past or regularly exceed the threshold for quarterly payments. In this case, you have to file your return and make your payment one month and seven days after the end of the period. So, if you’re period ends on 31 December 2017, your return and payment must be received by 7 February 2017.

Making VAT Payments

Once you have submitted your VAT return, you will either be due to a repayment or you will have to make a payment to HMRC. The easiest way to make a VAT payment is to set up a Direct Debit. Then, all you have to do is to submit your VAT return and everything else will be taken care of on your behalf, whether you’re due a repayment or a payment has to be made.

There are a number of other payment methods available but you will need to make those manually. All VAT payments must be cleared in HMRC’s account by the payment deadline, so you will also need some knowledge of the processing times.

  • Same or next day payments – Can be made online or by telephone banking (Faster payments);
  • Three working days – Direct Debit, BACS, debit or credit card and bank or building society payments all take three days to clear.  

If the payment deadline falls on a weekend or a public holiday, you must make sure the payment has arrived in HMRC’s account on the last working day before the deadline.

Need Advice?

Are you struggling to make a VAT payment? Perhaps you need advice about asking HMRC for more ‘Time to Pay’. Alternatively, you may be concerned your business is insolvent. Whatever your concerns, please get in touch on 020 8444 3400 for confidential, no-obligation advice.  

Read more about problems with HMRC