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In order to assist businesses struggling to file their VAT returns online, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued a consultation document dealing with all the possible amendments to the VAT Regulations.

With the current consultation issued HMRC is intending to review the VAT Regulations 1995 to make sure that the regulations offer a system for all businesses that are VAT registered (except the very few that are exempt) are capable to file VAT returns by approved electronic means. HMRC is also planning to publish a guidance dealing with what VAT-registered businesses should do if they are facing difficulty filing VAT returns online. The published guidance will also focus on the circumstances in which HMRC will try to allow businesses to make use of the Filing by Telephone service and include step by step process to be followed by businesses for doing the same.

HMRC is also proposing to consider modifications in the Filing by Telephone service for businesses that are unable to file returns online using the current approved forms of electronic return system without the assistance of others, and that they are capable of the accessibility and convenience of the Filing through Telephone service.

It is compulsory for businesses to file their VAT returns by electronic means as long as one of the limited exemptions in regulation 25A(6) of the VAT Regulations 1995 is not applicable. The exemptions being, businesses those are subject to insolvency procedures or run by practicing members of religious societies that forbid the use of computers. HMRC aspires to make dealing with tax to be as simple and straightforward. But it is also equally crucial for VAT registered businesses to meet all the requirements. VAT return contains 9 boxes of numerical information which not all businesses require to complete. The online system makes the process simple, prompt and secure. It also assures that the boxes have been completed without error.

Majority of businesses are capable to complete their tax return online and besides, HMRC has come up with solutions for businesses that do not own computer. Businesses lacking computers can use public computers; computers owned by family or friends or even use the services of an agent. For businesses that are able to neither file their tax online themselves nor use the support options, can make use of the Filing by Telephone service.

HMRC‘s Consultation to Assist Businesses to File Their VAT Returns Online

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