Keeping you VAT compliant

VAT Services for SMEs

For SME businesses VAT can often seem a complex topic.  Understanding when you need to register for VAT, what rates to charge, or whether your business could benefit from one of the many VAT schemes available can be difficult.  Add to that the time required accounting for, and preparation of VAT Returns, to ensure they are correctly submitted to HMRC on time it isn’t surprising that many prefer to call on the expertise of an accountancy firm such as Equifino to help and advise on all aspects of their VAT.

With years of experience of working with SME businesss to ensure efficient VAT calculation and submission, Equifino can remove the significant stress from your business.  Our VAT management services can provide support with the following;

Registering your business for VAT correctly and at the right time
Reviewing the many VAT schemes available and whether they are right for your business
Ensuring you calculate the correct amount of VAT to charge, reclaim and pay to HMRC
Helping you to meet your digital record keeping and submission obligations under Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT
Dealing with VAT enquiries on your behalf with HMRC

How we can Help

At Equifino we can support your business across a wide range of areas to do with VAT.  From understanding when is the right time to register your business to ensuring you charge the correct VAT rates for your products and services as well as optimising the amount you can reclaim

Registering for VAT Paying the Correct VAT Understanding MTD for VAT

Understanding whether you should register your business for VAT and ensuring the correct timing of registration can be complex. 

As a business you must register for VAT if:

  • your total VAT taxable turnover for the last 12 months was over £85,000 (the VAT threshold). Or,
  • you expect your turnover to go over £85,000 in the next 30 days

There are specific timeframes in which you need to register your business for either scenario above.  It is therefore important that you are not only monitoring your turnover to see if you fall within the VAT Threshold but complete the necessary registration on time.

You must also register if all of the following are true, regardless of your VAT taxable turnover:

  • you are based outside the UK
  • your business is based outside the UK
  • you supply any goods or services to the UK (or expect to in the next 30 days)

Again it can be difficult to understand if these rules apply to your business.  Additional help can be obtained on the HMRC website by reading the guidance on non-established-taxable-persons (NETPs).

As a business owner it may also be advantageous to elect to register for VAT even if your turnover is less than the VAT limit.  This is known as voluntary registration and enables you to claim back VAT paid by the business for goods and services from suppliers.

Once registered you are legally required to pay HMRC any VAT you owe from the date of registration.

There can be penalties for late registration depending on the amount owed and timeframes involved.  Any VAT due will also be calculated and backdated to the date at which you should have registered.

Equifino can be appointed as your Agent to deal with HMRC on your behalf in relation to VAT.  This can cover the monitoring of your turnover to ensure the correct timing of your VAT registration, recommending voluntary registration if appropriate, liaising with HMRC on your behalf as well as ensuring you pay the correct amount of tax.

As a VAT registered business, in order to ensure you pay the correct amount of VAT to HMRC you must first calculate the correct amount of VAT to charge for your goods and services.

In order to do this, you need to understand fully when VAT is chargeable and at what rate.  There are 3 rates of VAT; Standard rate, Reduced Rate and Zero Rate.  See our FAQ below for more information about each.

In addition, you cannot charge VAT on exempt goods or services including financial services, investments and insurance, education and training, healthcare and medical treatment to name but a few.  A full list of exempt goods or services can be located on the HMRC website.

Once the total amount of VAT charged has been calculated you can then reclaim VAT you have paid on business expenses and pay the net amount to HMRC.  This calculation is made via your VAT Return.

There are specific rules around the amount that can be re-claimed when items are used for both business and personal use as well as a number of rules specifically around vehicles, fuel, travel expenses and business assets of £50,000 and above. 

Similarly, if you sell both taxable and exempt goods your business is considered “partly exempt” and there are different ways to calculate what you can reclaim.

Given the complexity of calculating the rates of VAT you should charge for your goods and services as well as what you can reclaim, many businesses work with an accountancy firm such as Equifino to help them navigate their VAT and ensure they pay the correct amount.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT is a mandatory requirement that requires VAT registered businesses to keep records digitally and submit their VAT Returns using MTD software rather than directly via their HMRC Gateway Account. 

This doesn’t mean any change to the majority of the work undertaken by your business in relation to the calculation, or payment, of your VAT.  As such;

  • Your VAT returns will continue to be completed monthly, quarterly or annually
  • You will need to make VAT payments on your current payment date cycle
  • Spreadsheets can still be used to record business transactions if required

You will need to keep the following digital records to comply with MTD for VAT:

  • Your business name and address
  • Your VAT registration number
  • Details of any VAT accounting schemes you are registered with
  • For each invoice the date of supply, the net value (excluding any VAT) and the VAT rate used to calculate VAT.

All accounting information will need to be transferred to MTD compliant software so that when your VAT Return becomes due you can submit it through the software directly to HMRC.

At Equifino we can act as your Agent to ensure that not only is your business registered for VAT correctly but that it is registered for MTD and that your accounting software is MTD compliant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are just a few of the VAT questions we are regularly asked by businesses.  If you cannot locate the answer to your specific question check out our resources section of get it in touch

There are 3 rates of VAT; Standard Rate, Reduced Rate and Zero rate.

The Standard rate - currently 20% (Tax year 22/23) applies to most goods and services and should be charged unless the goods or services are classed as reduced or zero-rated.

Reduced Rate - this is a lower rate and the rate depends on the goods and / or circumstances of sale.  Example - Domestic fuel or power currently has rate of 5%.  A full list of reduced rate goods or services can be located on HMRC website.

Zero Rate - the goods are still subject to VAT but the rate charged is 0%.  This includes goods exported from Great Britain to somewhere outside the UK, from Northern Ireland to somewhere outside the UK and EU, or, goods supplied from Northern Ireland to a VAT registered EU business.

Businesses have to register for VAT if their VAT taxable turnover for the last 12 months exceeded £85,000 (VAT Threshold) or they expect their turnover to go over the £85,000 within the next 30 days.

VAT registration is also voluntary for businesses that don't meet the VAT Threshold. 

VAT schemes are in place to simplify the way that some VAT registered businesses calculate and account for VAT.  Joining a VAT Scheme does not change the amount of tax the business charges and are voluntary to join.  There are a number of VAT Schemes available:

  • VAT retail schemes
  • VAT margin schemes
  • VAT annual accounting scheme
  • VAT cash accounting scheme
  • VAT flat rate scheme

If you are unsure whether your business should register for one of these schemes, get in touch for advice and support around this and all of your VAT queries.

In the event you take over a business that is VAT registered you need to register your existing business if the combined turnover of both businesses exceeds the VAT taxable threshold.

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