Hi all,

6am the day after I get back from 2 weeks in the Indian Ocean, I find myself going through my VAT receipts in preparation for the return due next week (not to mention my  staff trying to destroy my business ive built up in recent years!

This is my first VAT return and its still quite a novel claiming back 20% on most goods, I've built up nearly £1000 in the bank account which is mine. 

My question - What do you do with the money? 

It will probably this time go to staff training - chainsaw courses booked for next week which is costing nearly £1500 (exc VAT! hehe).

Cheers guys :) 

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  • Hi

    I'm assuming you've spent more on VAT recoverable things than jobs you've invoiced.  Don't forget that every job you've had to charge 20% extra on the VAT man will want, obviously offset by the VAT on the good you've bought.  I've only had a a few refunds and thats when i've bought new mowers.

    Hope that helps

    p.s my accountant looks after mine for me

  • Not sure what you mean Matt. You just deduct the recoverable amount from what you have charged in VAT on jobs and pay the nett figure over to the HMRC. 

    • Yeah thats it
  • PRO
    In reality we as a service based business normally have a vat bill unfortunately and not a refund. I.e. More vat on services provided than goods bought.
    • I think you would soon get a 'Can we pop along and check your records' letter, if you claim back more than a couple of times in our business! 

      • PRO

        It's very rare for businesses Input VAT to exceed its Output VAT on a regular basis (ie to obtain a VAT refund).

        It generally happens only when you become VAT registered or you make a major purchase (ie new van etc) otherwise logic suggests you can't be generating sufficieint Sales income on which you pay Output VAT on (or you're taking "cash")

        As Colin implies, it will set off all manner of alarm bells at HMRC

  • PRO
    Can't help with the vat. What have your staff been doing when you were away?
  • Expanding slightly upon what Gary RK has said, you can reclaim VAT for any goods bought for the long term  and paid for up to four years before registering your own business for VAT. So all capital goods but not services. However, the services can be reclaimed for up to 6 months prior to your registration date. Not that businesses like ours tend to spend an awful lot on long term services. So this would be restricted to things like training or consultancy, the outcomes of which should at least be long lasting.

    Hence many businesses do indeed collect a sizeable refund, but sadly only for their first VAT return. Or a subsequent one if they don't put the "start up" costs in the first one.

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