July 30 2014.

The vast majority of UK businesses were legally mandated to file their VAT returns online from the 1st of April 2012 and according to HM Customs & Revenue (HMRC), most have found it easy to make the transition from paper filing to online filing.

However, some businesses contacted the Revenue to explain their difficulties in filing VAT returns online. HMRC would normally advise businesses of a range of digital assistance options to help them to meet their legal obligations. Such options included using public libraries, using computers owned by friends and family, using the services of an agent or, as a last resort, using the existing Filing by Telephone service.

A First Tier Tribunal ruling prompted HMRC to instigate a formal consultation exercise and, as a result, effective 1st of July 2014, the following amendments have been implemented which;

• enables HMRC to make a Commissioners' direction, approving telephone filing as an alternative method of electronic filing for use by businesses where it is not reasonably practicable for them to use the current method of online filing

• provides an additional exemption from electronic filing for businesses that satisfy HMRC that it is not reasonably practicable for them to use an online channel with the result that such businesses will be able to file on paper

For further information contact the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700.