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VAT changes on the way

Small businesses in Shropshire will need to file VAT returns electronically from the start of April - regardless of their turnover.

And Shrewsbury-based accountancy firm Dyke Yaxley today urged companies to make sure they were fully informed of the new rules, and set up for the change.

More than 370,000 small businesses across the UK have already signed up to the online system voluntarily," said Dyke Yaxley spokesman Julie Selley.

"Online payments are already mandatory for companies with a turnover of more than £100,000, but from April, any business which is VAT registered will have to submit their returns electronically, regardless of turnover."

HM Revenue and Customs has been encouraging all VAT-registered businesses to switch from paper returns to online filing.  Registered businesses receive regular emal alerts to remind them each time a return is due.

Julie added: "Even if you don't yet have to submit online returns and pay electronically, HMRC strongly recommends you sign up to using the online service before the start of next year.

"Using the online service saves you time and, in most cases, will give you extra time to submit your return and pay the VAT due."

She added: "It is easy to sign up, but if you do need help, the HMRC website, www.hmrc.gov.uk, has guides for beginners.  There is also an online demonstration available, allowing you to view what the online service looks like."

What if your business doesn't have a computer? Julie said: "You are still required to submit your returns online from April 2012, so you need to start thinking now about the options available.

"You also need to decide which electronic payment method best suits your business.  There are lots of methods to choose from - but bear in mind that HMRC currently does not receive or make payments using the Faster Payments Service offered by some banks."