How to Claim VAT in the UK

Written by april kohl
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How to Claim VAT in the UK
Books are one of several "zero-rated" taxable items for VAT purposes. (OLD BOOKS image by brelsbil from

HM Revenue and Customs allows VAT-registered businesses to reclaim the tax paid on goods and services purchased for the business. This reclaimable VAT is referred to as "input tax" to differentiate it from the standard, non-reclaimable VAT paid on goods and services purchased by a standard consumer. VAT can be claimed back online via the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Internet connection
  • VAT receipts
  • VAT 100 form
  • Details of your business
  • Details of your goods/services provider's business

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  1. 1

    Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website. Select "VAT" from the red "Businesses & Corporations" menu, then click "Submit your VAT return" from the "Do it online" menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Enter your username and password, or click "Register" to create an account. Alternatively, contact HM Revenue and Customs for the VAT 100 form, a paper-based version of the online VAT return form.

  2. 2

    Complete the VAT return form. You will be asked for your company's details, including VAT registration number and details of the VAT receipts you are submitting to reclaim VAT. You will also need to provide details of the company providing the goods and services for which you are claiming a VAT refund. This information should be found on your invoices or receipts.

  3. 3

    Submit the form to HM Revenue and Customs, either online via the website's form system or via standard post. Wait for a response from HM Revenue and Customs. During busy periods it can take up to six months for a VAT claim to be fully verified and processed. When your claim is authorised, you will receive a "Payable Order," which is similar to a form of check issued by UK government agencies.

Tips and warnings

  • Because of the time it takes to process a VAT claim, it is often best to submit your claim as soon as possible. Keep a file of all your VAT receipts and, if registering for VAT for the first time, do it early in the financial year; so you can submit your claim immediately after you receive the VAT 100 form. Although the forms can be mailed, consider registering on the website and submit the form online to reduce turnaround time.
  • VAT is charged at different rates for different goods and services, including a "zero rate" on books. It is important to record which rate of taxation has been charged on each item for which you are claiming a refund, rather than simply referring to the receipt as a whole. Failure to record the correct rates of VAT on your claims can delay processing or even invalidate your claim.

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