Create and submit a VAT Return

If you’re registered for VAT, you need to submit a return to HMRC once a month or quarterly.

This explains how to create your VAT return, check the return is correct and submit it to HMRC from Accounting Start.

Once the VAT return is shown as submitted these figures cannot be changed, any adjustments must be made on the next VAT return.

Before you start

Before you start, make sure:

  • Submit or delete any draft VAT returns

  • Re-submit any failed VAT returns. For help with a failed VAT submission, see VAT submission errors .

  • To submit VAT returns directly to HMRC,

  • Enter your VAT registration number from Settings, then Business Settings, then Accounting Dates & VAT.

Create your VAT Return

  1. Go to More and then click VAT Returns.
  2. Select Create VAT Return.

    If you're using MTD for VAT and your authentication with HMRC has expired, a prompt appears on-screen. Before you can proceed any further, choose Authenticate and follow the instructions to authenticate with HMRC again.
  3. If you need to, amend the From and To dates. Then click Calculate.

    If you’re set up for MTD, we automatically check for the next VAT period and set the dates on the return for you.

  4. If you have any transactions dated before the VAT period that weren’t included on a previous return, a prompt appears on-screen. Choose whether to

    • View prior period transactions to check which transactions these are.

    To include these transactions in this VAT return, click Yes or to discard them, click No.

    If you click No, you aren’t prompted to include these transactions again on future returns.

Edit your VAT Return

The figures in each box of the VAT Return are calculated automatically based on what transactions you’ve entered into Accounting, the dates of the transactions and the VAT scheme you’re using.

To adjust any values on a VAT return, click Adjust next to the relevant field. Enter the amount you want to change the value by and a reason for the change, then click Save.

If you make an adjustment on the VAT return, to the VAT on Sales or Purchases, this posts either:

  • A journal to Credit Ledger 2202 (VAT Liability) and the opposite Debit on Ledger 9999 (Suspense).
  • A journal to Debit Ledger 2202 (VAT Liability) and the opposite Credit on Ledger 9999 (Suspense).

The value posted to Ledger 9999 can then be moved to the required ledger account manually using a journal. You may need to take advice from your Accountant as to where this needs to be posted.

Report on your VAT Return

  1. To check the transactions included in each box, select Detailed Report then click PDF.

    The report automatically downloads and when it’s ready you receive a notification on the menu bar. Select the report, which then opens in a new window or tab.

  2. To produce a PDF copy of the return, point to the Print drop-down, select PDF, then from your browser menu, choose to print or save it.

    To help with MTD compliance, if you need to send your VAT Return values to a CSV file, point to the Print drop-down, then select CSV.

Submit your VAT Return

If you're not yet ready to submit the VAT return, choose Save this return and submit it later.

If you choose to submit the return now or later, all transactions included in the return are flagged to show they have been included on a VAT return. This is to prevent them being included in any future VAT returns.

Once a transaction has been included on a VAT return, only the ledger account can be changed. See Correct transactions

Registered for MTD

Once you're ready to send your VAT return to HMRC.

  1. Select Submit online to Government Gateway

  2. Choose Save.

  3. When prompted, click Finalise and Submit to complete the submission.

Not registered for MTD

You can't submit your VAT return directly from Accounting Start.

To submit your VAT return to HMRC

  1. Print out a copy of the VAT return.

  2. Sign in to the HMRC website

  3. Enter the details from your printed copy.

What's next

  • Check the status of the return from the VAT Return list.

  • Once you’re ready to do so, record the HMRC payment or refund of VAT.