When to submit your VAT return

Published · 2 min read

Since June 2012, following the implementation of Phase 4 of the mandatory electronic filing and paying by the Revenue Commissioners, all VAT registered businesses have to file their VAT returns using the Revenue Online Service (ROS).

This meant the end of the light green VAT return form (VAT3) arriving through the post together with the pre-paid Collector-General envelope.

For most small businesses, this was the reminder to take the time to bring their books up date and “do the VAT”.

VAT return filing deadline

Nowadays people have to be aware that the latest filing deadline for all online VAT filers is the 23rd day of the month after a VAT period.

For example – for the VAT period July/August, this return will need to be online filed and paid by 23 September.

From as far back as 2007, the Revenue Commissioners had being making provision for VAT registered businesses to reduce the frequency of VAT returns to be filed.

Up until then, all VAT registered businesses had no option but to file their returns every two months. The criteria the Revenue Commissioners now apply when assessing whether VAT registered businesses can qualify for reduced filing frequency is as follows:

  • Businesses making total annual VAT payments of less than €3,000 are eligible to file VAT returns and make their payments on a six-monthly basis, i.e. two returns per annum
  • Businesses making total annual VAT payments of between €3,001 and €14,400 are eligible to file VAT returns and make their payments on a four-monthly basis, i.e. three returns per annum.

The Revenue Commissioners say there is no need for businesses to take any action in relation to applying for a reduced filing and payment frequency as they will extend this facility to eligible businesses automatically.

However, if a business owner feels that after the Revenue moving them to a reduced filing frequency that they do not want to continue with this change, they can contact their local VAT office and ask to have their old frequency restored from the next available VAT period onwards.

Reasons behind the filing frequency change

The rationale behind implementing such a change to VAT filing frequencies is as follows:

  • An improvement to business cash flow by only having to make payments at the end of each four or six-monthly VAT period, as appropriate.
  • Reduced administration costs for businesses through less frequent filing of VAT returns.
  • Frees up time for the Revenue Commissioners to devote more attention to audit and compliance activities.

As online filing applies to virtually all VAT registered businesses, it is very important that business owners are aware of the VAT filing frequency for their own businesses – this can be found quite easily on the ROS system or by a quick phone call to their local VAT office.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

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