Tax Category Tax: calculations, VAT, self-employment tips and more

How to file a VAT return

VAT, otherwise known as Value Added Tax, is a type of consumption tax applicable to the European Union.

In the United Kingdom, for example, businesses must complete a VAT return form as required by HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs). It's analogous to a U.S. tax return. Businesses that log an annual turnover greater than 100,000 GBP or roughly £102,700, must submit a VAT return.

The VAT form notifies of HMRC of such things as sales, purchases and the amount of VAT you are entitled to get back, if any, VAT you charged, and so on. Submitting the form online is secure, fast and convenient.

Keep in mind that when submitting the VAT form online, you must put a minus sign before the amount noted if it is negative and type "0.00" if your answer is "none" or "not applicable."

Complete the nine boxes on the VAT form. Visit the HMRC home page for complete instructions on accurately completing this form. Going through this ahead of time will ensure a speedy process when filing online. The instructions provided on the HMRC website are applicable for all European Union members.

Register online in order to submit your VAT form via the HMRC website. First click "Register," then "New Users" followed by checking the box for VAT services. Finally, click "Next" to begin the enrolment process. You will then be prompted to create a new user ID and password. Once you have your user name and password, submit your business' VAT information for verification purposes. At this point, you will then be authorised to utilise the online VAT services.

Collect and organise your VAT expense receipts for items such as purchased goods, services and any other business expenses for which you paid VAT.

Continue step by step through the online filing of your VAT return. You will be required to complete information on your earnings, expenses, collected VAT as well as paid VAT.

Click "Submit" to complete the process and proceed with filing your VAT return form online. Save the confirmation number for your records. You can always go back and log into your HMRC account to review your returns.


If you are not a citizen of the European Union (EU) but are currently conducting business in the EU, check with local organisations to file your VAT return. EuroVAT is one such organisation, based in Los Angeles, that files VAT returns for North Americans who are operating within the EU.

Things Needed

  • VAT receipts and invoices for VAT being claimed back
  • VAT registration number
  • Postcode of your business
  • Effective date of VAT registration
  • Final month and "Box 5" total for your previous VAT return