HM Revenue and Customs Brief 29/14 - Amendments to online filing VAT returns
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Issued 28 July 2014
VAT: Amendments to regulations for online filing of VAT
Who needs to read this
VAT registered businesses who are unable to file their VAT
returns online for reasons of age, disability or remoteness of location.
The vast majority of businesses were legally mandated to file
their VAT returns online from 1 April 2012. Most have found it easy to
make the transition from paper filing to online filing. However, some
businesses contacted HMRC to explain their difficulties in filing VAT
returns online. In such circumstances, we advise businesses of a range
of digital assistance options to help them to meet their legal
obligations. Such options include using public libraries, using
computers owned by friends and family, using the services of an agent
or, if none of these options are appropriate, using the existing Filing
by Telephone service ('telephone filing').
First Tier Tribunal ruling
In response to appeals against the requirement to file online,
the First-tier Tribunal (in the case of L.H. Bishop Electrical Co. Ltd.
A F Sheldon t/a Aztec Distributors) ruled that UK VAT law failed to
take account of a person's ability to comply on account of:
- computer illiteracy (linked to age)
- remoteness of location
And, as such, was a breach of the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR).
The judge also held that HMRC could not rely on the fact that
telephone filing had been made available to certain businesses to cure
the aforementioned human rights breach as it had not been legislated
for or properly publicised.
Changes to legislation
Following a formal consultation exercise, Regulation 25A of
VAT Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518) has been amended to:
- enable HMRC to make a Commissioners' direction approving
telephone filing as an alternative method of electronic filing for use
by businesses that satisfy HMRC that it is not reasonably practicable
for them to use the current method of online filing
- provide an additional exemption from electronic filing for
businesses that satisfy HMRC that it is not reasonably practicable for
them to use an online channel with the result that such businesses will
be able to file on paper
Changes to legislation took effect from 1 July 2014.
For further information please contact the VAT Helpline on
Telephone: 0300 200 3700. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday,
8am to 6pm. If you have hearing difficulties you can use the Textphone
service on 0300 200 3719.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright 2014.
A licence is needed to reproduce this article and has been republished
for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by
permission of HM Revenue & Customs.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-08-04 15:52:18 in Tax Articles