Rickard Keen’s Advice on Filing Online Tax Returns

Essex-based accountancy firm Rickard Keen has issued a reminder to local businesses that new rules obliging them to file their returns for VAT and PAYE via the internet come into force this year.

From 1 April 2010, businesses with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more (excluding VAT) and all businesses which are registering for VAT for the first time, regardless of their turnover, will have to file their returns and pay any tax due online, or they could face a fine, calculated as a percentage of the tax owed.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has updated its online service for VAT ahead of the changes, which it claims will make it easier for new users to register and enrol for the service, and to file returns online. Users will also be able to register for email alerts to remind them when their next VAT return is due.

An online VAT account can be set up at any time, but must be done in time to file the first VAT return online. Businesses that already deal with their VAT through HMRC’s online service can continue to use their existing login details, although they may notice some changes to the pages they use.

Small businesses must also submit their Employer Annual Returns electronically this year. All firms with five or more employees need to file their details online by May 19 (firms with more than 50 employees have had to do so since 2006) or face a penalty, calculated as a percentage of the amount paid late, with higher penalties for
consistently late payers.

Businesses with less than five employees will be given another year to fall in line, while there is also an exception for religious groups whose beliefs are incompatible with electronic communications.

Rickard Keen partner Kate Davies said: “While filing online has many advantages by removing the risk of forms being lost and informing taxpayers of any mistakes more quickly, some smaller businesses will not be used to dealing with their financial affairs online and may not even be aware this change is taking place.

“We would urge anyone who is unsure about these new rules to seek professional advice to ensure they submit the required information before the appropriate deadline.”

For more information, contact Rickard Keen LLP on 01702 347771 or visit www.rickardkeen.co.uk.

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