HMRC to allow telephone VAT filing
Businesses should note that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will now allow VAT returns to be filed over the telephone in “exceptional circumstances”.
Following a technical consultation this spring, businesses will be able to file over the phone when they do not have access to online filing options due to broadband issues or disability.
HMRC has confirmed, in its response document to the consultation, that amendments to the legislation of VAT will allow an alternative form of filing where taxpayers who satisfy certain criteria will not be required to file their VAT returns using the electronic return system.
The response document says that while it will make improvements to its telephone filing service, businesses will only be approved to use the system if they can prove that it is not reasonably practical for them to file online – a requirement for all other VAT-registered business.
HMRC say that by amending the VAT legislation this satisfies feedback to the consultation, where respondents supported the proposal to extend exemptions to online filing and the retention of an appeal service for refused exemptions.
HMRC put out the consultation after losing the First Tier Tribunal case of LH Bishop Electric Co Ltd and Others v HMRC Commissioners.
In the Bishop case the judge found that requirement breached the human rights of those who were unable to file online because they were computer illiterate due to age, or had a disability that made using a computer accurately very difficult or painful, or they lived too remotely for a reliable internet connection.
Whether businesses are filing over the telephone or online, if they have any questions then we would urge them to contact their accountant.
For more information on VAT filing requirements, please contact Alan Taylor.
Author: Alan Taylor FCCA
A former pupil at Ripley St Thomas C of E High School in Lancaster, Alan joined Scott & Wilkinson directly from school in 1994 and qualified as an Accountant in 2001. Alan is the Partner with responsibility for the day-to-day...
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