File your VAT return online

How to file a VAT return to HMRC directly from your FreeAgent account.

When you’re registered for VAT, you need to file returns regularly (usually quarterly) with HMRC, nearly always online. Here’s how to file a return to HMRC directly from within your FreeAgent account.

1 Preparing to file

First of all, you’ll need to make sure you’re registered with HMRC to file VAT returns online.

To begin the filing process, navigate to Taxes>VAT and select ‘File online with HMRC’. Don’t worry, you will have the opportunity to review your figures before submitting your VAT return!

file online with HMRC button

Spend some time checking the figures on your FreeAgent VAT return, and work through the following checklist, as seen on the filing page:

  • Are your VAT registration and first VAT return dates correct?
  • Have you chosen invoice or cash accounting as appropriate for this VAT return?
  • Is your VAT flat rate scheme setting right? Remember this should be ‘Not on the Flat Rate Scheme’ unless you’ve been accepted by HMRC to join the scheme
  • Have you entered and explained all your bank transactions that fall within this VAT return period?
  • Have you included any transactions bought or sold outside the UK correctly?
  • Have you included and sent, or marked as sent, all your invoices that fall within this VAT return period?
  • Have you entered all your out-of-pocket expenses for the VAT return period?

Amend any mistakes you come across and double-check your figures to make sure everything is correct before you file.

2 Filing your VAT return

Enter your Government Gateway ID and password. HMRC will have provided you with an ID shortly after you registered to file your VAT returns online. You will also have been prompted to choose a password of between eight and twelve characters when you registered.

enter Government Gateway details

Once you have entered your Government Gateway ID and password, select ‘Submit VAT Return’.

That's it, you're done!

FreeAgent will now submit your return to HMRC, and will tell you within a few seconds whether it was accepted or rejected.

If your VAT return is rejected

If your VAT return is rejected, you will see the error message from HMRC in your FreeAgent account, and you’ll need to take action depending on what this error message says.

If you discover a mistake later

Once you’ve filed a return with HMRC, you can’t change it. Don’t worry unduly though, as FreeAgent does let you put corrections into your next VAT return. Find out how to make corrections in a VAT locked period.

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