VAT - bad debt relief

VAT Bad debt relief allows businesses that have made supplies on which they have accounted for and paid VAT but for which they have not received payment to claim a refund of the VAT. We explain the situations where the relief applies. If your business is in the London area we, at Higgisons can provide any further information you require on VAT matters.

It is quite possible within the VAT system for a business to be in the position of having to pay over VAT to HMRC while not having received payment from their customer.

Bad debt relief allows businesses, that have made supplies on which they have accounted for and paid VAT but for which they have not received payment, to claim a refund of the VAT by reference to the outstanding amount.

The Conditions for Relief

In order to make a claim a business must satisfy the following conditions:

  • goods and services have been supplied and the VAT in question has been accounted for and paid
  • six months has elapsed since the later of the date of supply and the due date for consideration, whichever is the later
  • all or part of the outstanding amount must have been written off in the accounting records as a bad debt (in the ‘refunds for bad debts account’).

Making the Claim

A claim is made by entering the appropriate amount in Box 4 of the VAT return for the period in which entitlement to the claim arises (or any permissible later period).

Records

Businesses making bad debt relief claims must keep records for four years from the date of the claim to show:

  • the time and nature of supply, purchaser and consideration - normally a VAT invoice will show this
  • the amount of VAT and the accounting period it was paid to HMRC
  • any payment received for the supply
  • details of entries in the ‘refunds for bad debts account’.

Repayment of Input Tax by Purchaser

Where a customer has not paid a supplier within six months of the date of the supply or, if later, the date payment is due, VAT previously claimed as input tax, must be repaid. This puts a burden on all VAT registered traders to monitor their transactions to anticipate whether they need to reverse any input tax recovered on goods received from suppliers.

How we can help

If your business is in the London area we at Higgisons would be pleased to help with further advice on VAT bad debt relief.

About us

Higgisons was formed by John Higgison in Oxford Street in 1965 and was originally part of the Accountancy Tuition Centre until James McHale became managing partner and the firm moved to its City Road premises in 1982.

We like to become involved at the planning stage of the formation of a business venture to ensure that it is structured as flexibly and efficiently as possible so that it can cope with changes in legislation or personal circumstances.

Higgisons Chartered Accountants
Higgison House
381-383 City Road
London
EC1V 1NW


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