Submitting VAT returns
The vast majority of VAT registered businesses must submit VAT returns online and make any payments due electronically. In the past it has only been possible to avoid the obligation to file online if the taxpayer was a practicing member of a religious society or order whose beliefs are incompatible with the use of electronic equipment, or if the business was in insolvency proceedings.
However, following a recent Tribunal decision, HMRC agreed to relax the rules for to allow businesses to file by telephone if they can satisfy HMRC that it is not practical to file returns electronically due to their age, disability, computer illiteracy, remoteness of location, or any other reason. If telephone filing is similarly impracticable, affected VAT traders will be able to submit paper returns. Changes to the legislation to formalise the option for telephone filing came into effect on 1 July 2014.
The Judge in the tax case that prompted the change found that the failure of HMRC to provide additional filing options was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).