Compiling a vat return can seem daunting. There are lots of things to consider – do I have vat receipt for that, which box does that go in – it can be even more confusing if you are using a special vat scheme such as cash or flat rate.

QuickBooks Online QBOQuickBooks has a vat element built in, which means that the manual vat return can be left way in the past. Simply enter your bookkeeping information as you would normally would into QuickBooks Online and it will calculate the figures for you!

You can set your QuickBooks Online up to run for the correct quarters for your business, as well as selecting whether you are using either the standard, cash or flat rate scheme. By selecting the correct vat code on the transactions added to QuickBooks you will feed the information into the system to be calculated.

The vat return is set out to mimic the HMRC layout, with boxes 1 to 9 to minimise confusion. You can check what makes up each individual figure by clicking on it, creating a list of transactions that you can then examine further. We would always suggest sense checking the information before submitting to HMRC, as it is easy to accidentally give a transaction the wrong date or tax code etc. You can always click through to the original transaction to see exactly where the figures are coming from and with QuickBooks’ ability to save attachments to bills and invoices you can see the original document in just a few clicks!

If you are using the flat rate scheme, once you have entered the correct percentage for your type of work, QuickBooksvat will work out the amount due to HMRC and even the amount that you have gained or lost by using this scheme compared to standard vat accounting.

Once you are happy all of your entries are correct, just click the ‘file with HMRC’ button to be taken straight to their log-in page. Copy the figures across and submit. Don’t forget to press ‘mark as filed’ on QuickBooks to lock the quarter you have completed.

Gone are the days of digging through paperwork or spreadsheets to figure out where the figures on your vat return came from. If you need any more information about the vat capability of QuickBooks, how to get it set-up or you would like to try a free trial just get in touch on Evie.molloy@hemingwaybailey.co.uk or 01482 679333.

Evie Molloy

Evie Molloy

Evie qualified with her AAT in 2016 and is now studying for her professional exams where she is studying the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ( CIMA ) qualification.

Evie is an Apprentice Ambassador and goes into schools and advising employers on the benefits of apprenticeships. In 2016 she hosted a large employers Apprentice Event for the National Apprenticeship Service at York Racecourse.
Evie Molloy

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