Postponed accounting for import VAT was reintroduced on 1 January 2021 and changed the way businesses reflect import VAT on their monthly or quarterly VAT returns.

Intended to lessen any negative impact on a business’s cash flow when importing goods, postponed VAT accounting means that VAT registered businesses can account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying it upfront at the border.

However, some importers have experienced issues regarding access to and/or the accuracy of their monthly VAT statements recently, which has led HMRC to update their guidance, providing more information on how those affected should complete monthly and quarterly VAT Returns for the affected accounting periods.

I can’t access my VAT statements but need to complete my VAT return – what should I do?

HMRC have confirmed those affected can submit an estimate for import VAT figures. Your estimate should be as accurate as possible, calculated based on the amount paid for goods and any other costs you have agreed to pay.

Once you are able to access your VAT statements, it is your responsibility to make an adjustment to reflect any difference and account for this on your next return.

I can access my VAT statements, but they are inaccurate – what should I do?

HMRC have been made aware of issues affecting the accuracy of January 2021 and February 2021 statements.

Provided you take reasonable care to follow HMRC’s guidance, the Treasury has confirmed there will be no penalties for errors. Similarly, if an honest error is made there will be no penalties.

The guidance linked above varies based on when you would usually submit you return. It is important you follow the guidance based on your usual return date.

Get in touch

If you continue to experience issues with your VAT statements and would like to speak with one of our dedicated VAT experts for more guidance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.