How to fill out a VAT return

Written by stephanie ellen
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How to fill out a VAT return
VAT is a sales tax in Europe. (Europe image by NL shop from

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a sales tax imposed in Europe on taxable goods and services. If you are a VAT registered business, you are required to collect VAT and file a VAT return every three months at the end of every VAT tax period. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sends out paper returns to businesses. At the end of the tax period, fill out the form and return it to HMRC.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check that your business name and VAT number on the form are correct. If you have lost your form, order a new one from the HMRC order line at 01702 366376 or 01702 366314.

  2. 2

    Fill in boxes 1 to 7 on your VAT return. Boxes 1 through 7 ask you for details about sales and purchases. For example, box 1 is the amount of VAT due on sales, and box 2 is the amount of VAT due on good's acquisitions. Complete boxes 8 and 9 if you have traded goods with a business in another European Union business.

  3. 3

    Write out a check for the total amount of VAT due. Write your VAT registration number on the back of the check.

  4. 4

    Send your VAT return back to the VAT office in the envelope provided. If you have lost the envelope, send your return to:

    VAT Central Unit

    Alexander House



    SS99 1AA

Tips and warnings

  • Don't staple checks to returns (leave them loose) or send letters with your returns (letters should be sent in a separate envelope).
  • Enclose any negative figures in brackets. For example, instead of -£99, write (£99).
  • Don't leave any box blank; write "none" or "not applicable."
  • If you make a mistake, don't use a whiteout product. Cross the number out, then write the correct figure. Place your initials near the correction.

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