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HMRC reminder about paying VAT by cheque

HMRC have recently issued a reminder about paying VAT by cheque.

From 1 April 2010 all VAT-registered businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of £100,000 or more, and all newly-registered businesses regardless of their turnover, must submit VAT returns online and pay electronically.

Businesses that are not caught by the above rules can still pay by posting HMRC a cheque but, from 1 April 2010, all cheque payments sent to HMRC by post are treated as being received by HMRC on the date when cleared funds reach HMRC's bank account, not the date of receipt.

So sufficient time must be given for the cheque to reach HMRC and clear into HMRC's bank account. A cheque generally takes three bank working days to clear.

HMRC also state:

'However if paying by post please:

  • make your cheque payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your nine-digit VAT registration number and send it with your return using the pre-addressed envelope provided by HMRC
  • do not fasten the cheque with paper clips or staples or in any other manner.'

Link: HMRC guidance

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