Coronavirus: VAT and Companies House news you may have missed

6th Apr 2020
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As businesses struggle to keep up with all the details of the various Covid-19 updates from Government and what they mean, you may have missed two surprisingly straightforward pieces of news.

Firstly, a VAT deferral. Secondly, a three month extension to file accounts. Below, we look at the details.

Deferral of VAT payments

The Government has announced that all UK VAT registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments, and for most, the deadline for submitting returns and making payment is one calendar month and 7 days from the end of the VAT period.  The VAT payment deferral applies for the period 20th March to 30th June 2020 and so covers payments that would have been due on 7th April, 7th May and 7th June.  For most businesses, therefore, the deferral applies to a VAT quarter.

Points to note:

Although there is no application process to take up the offer of payment deferral, VAT returns must be submitted as usual and by the deadline.

The deferred VAT must be paid by the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to avoid penalties.

No application is required; the only thing to do is to remind clients to cancel any direct debit instruction and in good time to avoid HMRC attempting to collect VAT due on the last return (and remember to set it up again once payments resume).

Click here to read more on available assistance for businesses, including the deferral of VAT payments.

Three-month extension to file accounts at Companies House

Companies House has announced a three-month extension period to filing accounts for those citing COVID-19 or health issues.  This scheme is not quite as straightforward and may not apply if the company has already applied to extend their filing deadline or shorten their accounting reference period, so it’s important to check to avoid potential penalties.

Points to note:

To avoid penalties, you must apply to extend; this is done via the usual channels but cite COVID-19 or health matters in the application. Companies House says that this ensures the extension is automatic and immediate.

Remember the accounts still need to be filed at some point! Companies House says the policy will be kept under review and amended as necessary in light of the progression of the pandemic.

Click here to read more about extending the deadline for filing accounts.

In other news, Companies House has also announced an end, for the time being, to same day incorporations and company name changes and all contact centres have been closed.  All enquires should be emailed to [email protected].

Companies House Chief Executive, Louise Smyth said: “We recognise that these are uncertain times for businesses and that’s why we’re doing all we can to help.

“By easing the burden, we can help businesses through this period and enable them to thrive in the future. I would encourage companies who believe they would benefit from this new flexibility to make an application in good time.”

For more news and updates on the COVID-19 crisis, please keep an eye on our blog.