By Marcus Leach

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued an alert to VAT-registered businesses across the UK about important changes that come into effect this spring.

From 1 April 2012, all VAT-registered businesses must send their VAT returns online and pay their VAT electronically. Currently, only newly-registered businesses, and those with turnovers of more than £100,000, have to file and pay their VAT online.

The new rules will cover VAT returns filed for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2012.

If you’re not already filing your VAT online, switching now makes sense. By doing this, you’ll avoid a last-minute rush, and be able to enjoy the benefits of online filing sooner rather than later. These benefits include:

* an automatic acknowledgement that your return has been received;
* a handy arithmetic checker to help make sure you’ve done your sums correctly; and
* an email alert to remind you when your next online return is due (as, after April, HMRC will stop sending out paper returns to customers who are now required to file online).

To file your VAT return online, you’ll need to register for HMRC’s VAT Online Service — visit www.online.hmrc.gov.uk

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