Some farmers will have to file their VAT returns online from next spring, under plans by HM Revenue & Customs to phase out paper forms.


From 1 April 2010 you will have to submit your VAT returns online and pay VAT due electronically (eg by Direct Debit) if either of the following applies: You have an annual turnover greater than £100,000 (exclusive of VAT); or you register or should have registered for VAT on or after 1 April 2010, regardless of turnover.

Businesses that don’t meet either of these criteria will still be able to submit paper VAT returns, but this could change in 2012. HMRC will write to all those who will have to submit VAT returns online next February.

“A lot of farmers are already ahead of the game and doing their VAT returns online, but there will be some individuals for whom it might be more of an issue,” said Andrew Vickery of Old Mill Rural Accountants. “Online VAT returns make life a lot easier and the automatic checking won’t let you submit figures if they’re wrong. This means there’s less chance of HMRC coming back with a problem, as with the paper forms.”

* For an insight into the world of agri-business, check out Phil Clarke’s Business Blog

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