Update 17 March 2020
Clients can contact HMRC, who have been very understanding and have offered to defer all tax payments (including VAT) for 2 months. In effect this is free credit to help with potential cash flow issues. If you need this then I’d encourage you to phone them.
The simple principle here is – once you’ve paid it, you won’t get it back! HMRC are likely to have to give further concessions if the effect of coronavirus is as severe as expected.
More information is set to be announced in the coming weeks and further details on how to apply. In the meantime, businesses with immediate concerns are advised to contact HMRC’s Business Support Helpline
Update 28 March 2020
The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June.
You therefore have until 31 March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.
You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period. If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.
Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period. HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.
A helpline has also been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke ‘time to pay’ arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s helpline on 0800 0159 559.