Effortless online VAT returns with KashFlow

Once you are registered for VAT, sending in your returns every three months can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if you’re not keeping strict electronic records on a regular basis.

I’ve blogged about various online accounting packages before, but if you want to keep track of your company’s finances, and make your VAT returns effortless, KashFlow is the way to go.

Disclaimer: I am a satisfied customer of KashFlow. The links to their site that feature in this article are “affiliate tagged” which will also grant you a £1/month discount off the price after your free trial.

Registration’s what you need

If you haven’t already, the first step is to register for VAT with HMRC. The KashFlow website has an article discussing the merits and I’ve blogged about in the past. Once you are registered you then need to submit a VAT report after a month; it details how much you have paid in VAT (on purchases) and how much you have collected (on sales). After the first month, you then need to submit a return every quarter. There are various options/schemes for being VAT-registered; in this article I’m only dealing with the Standard Scheme.

Once you have your VAT registration details, sign in to KashFlow. (If you haven’t used it before, sign-up for a free no-obligation trial). Go to the ‘reports’ section and select the VAT report, then choose ‘VAT settings’. Verify that you have entered your VAT registration number, and that the settings match your company.

At the bottom of the page, there is a place to enter your HMRC website credentials so that KashFlow can communicate with HMRC on your behalf:

Enter your credentials, and click ‘Update’. Then go back to the reporting selection and open the VAT report again.

Basic report

Select the date period you need to report on, (HMRC will have sent you a letter or email requesting your report for a specific period), and click ‘re-run report’. (This assumes you have been using KashFlow to record payments and sales, otherwise the report will be empty!). KashFlow will generate a fully compliant VAT report for you that should look something like this:

If you were to go to the HMRC website yourself and attempt to file a VAT return, you would see that the form to complete looks almost identical to the report above. However, things are much easier than that – click ‘submit VAT return’ and KashFlow will send your numbers to HMRC.

The return

HMRC generally respond quickly but not quite immediately. You can track your return in the VAT report area of KashFlow:

Once HMRC receive the data from KashFlow and process it, you will receive an email confirming your successful VAT return – congratulations! From this point, you need to make the actual payment, using any of the HMRC’s payment methods.

VAT is just one of the many accounting features that KashFlow makes clear and simple. As well as trivial creation of invoices, quotes, recording of purchases and reconciling your bank account, it removes the worry of back-ups and helps you analyse your business’s finances with ease.

As well as powerful reporting features, the service also includes a raft of helpers, (such as generating professional email reminders for customers that pay late), that genuinely make managing your corporate finances a doddle.

Sign-up for a completely free, no obligation trial today.

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