HMRC has proposed to relax the current online filing of VAT returns. They are going to improve the telephone filing service by making it possible for taxpayers to ring HMRC rather than making an appointment for HMRC to ring them. They are also providing: a dedicated line, and providing a service outside normal working hours. The service will be more widely publicised and guidance provided.
The change of approach has been largely due to recent tax cases that have challenged the mandatory online filing process for most taxpayers. In one case the judge found that requirement breached the human rights of those who were unable to file online because they were computer illiterate due to age, or had a disability that made using a computer accurately very difficult or painful, or they lived too remotely for a reliable internet connection.
VAT registered traders should be able to take advantage of non-online filing if they are:
- in a remote location where internet access is not available,
- unable to file online for any other reason
The changes should provide those groups with telephone filing, or paper filing alternatives.