Category: Tax

COVID-19: Government defers VAT payments

By Paul Bain

13 Jan 2021

On 20 March 2020, HMRC announced a deferral scheme for VAT for all UK businesses to help them manage the impact of COVID-19. This also applies to businesses that are not established in the UK but are registered for VAT here.

Updated 13 January 2021.

VAT payments could be deferred for three months beginning on 20 March 2020 and ending 30 June 2020. For those on standard quarterly VAT returns, the returns affected were –

  • February 2020, due on 7 April
  • March 2020, due on 7 May
  • April 2020, due on 7 June

For those businesses that deferred their VAT, HMRC has issued guidance to taxpayers that still have payments to make.

HMRC is advising taxpayers who deferred their VAT payments to:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021
  • or, opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021
  • or, contact HMRC if they need more help to pay

Taxpayers can pay their deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021. There is no need to contact HMRC. However, if taxpayers want to use the new payment scheme they will need to opt in. The new online opt in process will be available in early 2021. Taxpayers will need to opt in themselves as this cannot be carried out by tax agents.

Where taxpayers opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, they can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, which are interest free. All instalments of the outstanding amount must be paid by the end of March 2022.

In order for taxpayers to use the scheme they must:

  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with their VAT returns
  • opt in before the end of March 2021
  • pay the first instalment before the end of March 2021
  • be able to pay the deferred VAT by Direct Debit

Taxpayers must prepare to opt in by:

  • creating their own Government Gateway account if they do not already have one
  • submitting any outstanding VAT returns from the last four years. You will not be able to join the scheme if you have not done so
  • correcting errors on their VAT returns as soon as possible. Corrections received after 31 December 2020 may not show in their deferred VAT balance
  • ensuring they know how much they owe, including the amount they originally deferred and how much they may have already paid

For further information, contact one of our partners.

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