Stephenson Smart provide VAT returns services in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

We support many clients from small businesses to large organisations to provide them with an accurate, efficient and compliant VAT returns service.

VAT is a self-assessed tax. This places the onus firmly on businesses to get it right. The law is constantly evolving, and it is sometimes difficult to keep up to date. With high VAT rates and a punitive financial penalty regime, the cost of getting things wrong can be significant.

HMRC demands the right amount of tax is paid at the right time. The publicly available guidance is not always clear – we are able to assist and advise you on all areas of VAT compliance.

The benefits of using an accountant for your VAT:

  • Saving you time to focus on running your business.
  • Specialist knowledge to ensure accurate reporting and compliance.
  • Accurate and timely VAT returns.
  • Expert VAT services.

The VAT service we provide is:


Our teams are fully qualified and experienced in VAT, to provide you with an efficient and personal service.


As chartered accountants we are aware of your obligations to HMRC and qualified to ensure they are fulfilled.


The advice and support we can offer you and your business will give you the peace of mind to allow you to concentrate on your business.

As part of our VAT returns service, we can provide:

  • A comprehensive review of your VAT systems and accounting procedures.
  • VAT registrations and grouping.
  • Transfers of going concerns.
  • Partial exemption and Capital Goods Scheme calculations.
  • Expert guidance on VAT rates and liabilities.
  • Correct application of VAT reliefs.
  • VAT returns, EC Sales Lists, applications for registrations, and option to tax forms on your behalf.
  • Assistance with dispute resolution in an effective and timely manner.
  • Preparation for VAT inspections by undertaking health checks, attending meetings with HMRC, and dealing with queries after the event.

We are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, making us fully qualified to be your trusted VAT accountant.

Let us look after your VAT process, so that you can focus on developing and managing your business.


Businesses in the UK need to register for VAT if their annual taxable turnover in any 12-month rolling period, or within the next 30 days, is greater than the VAT threshold. This figure is set and reviewed by the government, with any changes announced in the Chancellor’s regular Budget statements.

HMRC request that the business applies within 30 days of exceeding the threshold.

HMRC will advise on the businesses nine-digit VAT number and when the first VAT return is due, by post. Making-tax-Digital was introduced in 2019, meaning that VAT returns must be filed electronically to HMRC. Stephenson Smart can advise on software that can be used to report these figures.

VAT returns can be prepared either monthly, quarterly, or annually.

After the end of a VAT period, the business has until one month and seven days to submit their VAT return and to pay any outstanding VAT liability (two months if annually).

HMRC do offer a direct debit service where the liability will be collected automatically around three to five days after the submission deadline.

You cannot include VAT on your sales invoices until you receive your VAT number through the post, but prices can be increased to account for the VAT that will need to be paid to HMRC. Once the VAT number has come through, the sales invoice can be reissued to show the VAT element.
A VAT invoice must include a unique invoice identification number, the business VAT identification number, the business name and contact information, the billing date, and the due date to be considered a complete and legally binding document.
There are four main VAT schemes in the UK.

  1. Accrual accounting scheme is the most used. The VAT return includes all sales invoices and purchases invoices in the reporting period regardless of whether they have been paid or money has been received within the reporting period.
  2. Cash accounting scheme. As the name suggests, the VAT return only includes the sales invoices and purchase invoices that have been paid and received in the period. A turnover threshold is relevant to the use of this scheme.
  3. Flat rate scheme. VAT is charged at the standard rate on sales but paid over to HMRC at a lower rate depending on what industry the business trades in, and turnover. The percentage paid is determined by HMRC and can be found here VAT Flat Rate Scheme : Work out your flat rate – GOV.UK (
  4. Annual accounting scheme. Quarterly advanced payments are made to HMRC, with a ‘top-up’ or refund being issued once the first annual return is filed. A turnover threshold is relevant to the use of this scheme.