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VAT refund tips for your business: 10 ways to save money and time on VAT refunds

1. Pay VAT on time

Avoid penalties by paying VAT on time. If your VAT return is late, HMRC will make you pay a percentage of the VAT not paid by the due date. You will not be charged the first time this happens, but you will be issued a warning. If it occurs again within the next 12 months, an evaluation will be performed to determine an overload of up to 15%.

2. Charge the corresponding VAT amount

There are different types of taxes, so you need to make sure you apply the correct amount. Charging 17.5 percent, 5 percent, 0 percent, or exempt can make a noticeable difference in your profit margins. If you are not sure what VAT to charge, seek the expert advice of a VAT advisor.

3. Pay VAT online

Paying VAT online means that the due date for the return and payment to reach HMRC may be extended by an additional seven calendar days.

4. Take advantage of the Annual Accounting Plan

VAT registered businesses benefit from this scheme as it allows them to pay VAT in nine monthly installments and then pay a compensation payment each year. There are 1 million businesses eligible for this, but their annual turnover excluding VAT must be less than £1.35 million.

The main advantages are that you do not receive exorbitant VAT bills when it is inconvenient because your payments are spread throughout the year. This helps your cash planning, less time is spent completing VAT returns as you only have to complete one return a year instead of the usual four.

5. Cash Accounting Schemes

If your annual turnover is less than £660,000, you are eligible for the cash accounting scheme whereby you only pay VAT on invoices that have already been paid. You will not be able to use this scheme once your turnover reaches £825,000. The main advantage of using this cash accounting scheme is that it helps cash flow, especially if you have customers who pay late. However, this also means that you cannot claim VAT until you have paid your suppliers.

6. Flat rate regime, simplified accounting

You can calculate your VAT payment as a flat rate percentage of your turnover using this scheme. The percentages are calculated according to the sector in which it operates. By using this scheme, you cannot reclaim the VAT that has been paid as it is taken into account and added to the flat rate percentage. The flat rate scheme saves you time and possibly money as you do not need to account for the VAT that is charged on every sale and purchase made.

7. Get any decision in writing

Any decision made by HMRC must be confirmed in writing, this acts as an insurance policy. If something goes wrong, you can submit this as proof of what was said.

8. Ask for a VAT invoice

When making a purchase, always request a VAT invoice, as this can be used to claim VAT.

9. Don’t make unnecessary claims

VAT is not allowed to be reclaimed on the purchase of vehicles, business entertainment or non-business expenses. You may be awarded a penalty and interest if you attempt to do so.

10. Claim VAT quickly

Try to get into the habit of claiming all expenses as soon as possible, as this will help ease your cash flow.

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