When is my VAT return due?

When is my VAT return due?

When is my VAT return due?

When you register for VAT with HMRC, you are issued a VAT certificate. The certificate is often sent in the post and can also be found by logging into your online VAT account

On that VAT certificate, you will be allocated VAT quarters. 

The VAT quarters issued will be one of: 

  • Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct

  • Feb, May, Aug, Nov

  • Mar, Jun, Sept, Dec

Your VAT return and payment are due 1 month and 7 days after the end of your VAT quarter.

For example, if your VAT quarter says January, your return is due by 7th March (one month and 7days after the end of January) 

The return submission and the payment are both due by this date.  If either is late, you are deemed to be in default for VAT. 

You must submit a VAT Return even if you have no VAT to pay or reclaim.

You must submit your VAT return electronically.

Note that the deadlines are different if you are using the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme.

Surcharges and Penalties

HMRC record a ‘default’ if:

  • they do not receive your VAT return by the deadline

  • full payment for the VAT due on your return has not reached their account by the deadline

This means both the return and payment need to be received by HMRC in time. 


You may enter a 12-month ‘surcharge period’ if you default. 

If you default again during this time:

  • the surcharge period is extended for a further 12 months

  • you may have to pay an extra amount (a ‘surcharge’) on top of the VAT you owe


If you submit a late return, you will not have to pay a surcharge if you:

  • pay your VAT in full by the deadline

  • have no tax to pay

  • are due a VAT repayment

HMRC will write to you explaining any surcharges you owe and what happens if you default again.

Your surcharge is a percentage of the VAT outstanding on the due date for the accounting period that is in default. The surcharge rate increases every time you default again in a surcharge period.

Here is a list of the surcharges that will be applied -  https://www.annetteandco.co.uk/what-happens-if-my-vat-return-is-late/



HMRC can charge you a penalty of up to:

  • 100% of any tax under-stated or over-claimed if you send a return that contains a careless or deliberate inaccuracy

  • 30% of an assessment if HMRC sends you one that’s too low and you do not tell them it’s wrong within 30 days

  • £400 if you submit a paper VAT return, unless HMRC has told you you’re exempt from submitting your return using your VAT online account or Making Tax Digital compatible software

Making your VAT payment

There are several ways to make your VAT payment. Ensure that HMRC receives your cleared funds by the payment deadline to avoid surcharges. 

Same or next day

3 working days

If the deadline falls on a weekend or bank holiday, your payment must arrive in HMRC’s bank account on the last working day before it (unless you pay by Faster Payments).

If you are worried about your VAT return being late, you can find out more info here - https://www.annetteandco.co.uk/what-happens-if-my-vat-return-is-late 

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About the Author

Annette Ferguson 

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.