What should I do if I have made a mistake on my VAT return?

It’s simple to make a mistake on your VAT return. Perhaps you overlooked something or made a mistake when adding up the numbers. However, if this occurs and you realise that you have made a mistake on a previously filed return, don’t panic; it is simple to correct. You don’t have to notify HMRC if the inaccuracies fit certain criteria; you can simply repair them by amending your next VAT return.

Manually correcting an error

You may be able to fix an error on a previous VAT return by adjusting a future VAT return in certain circumstances. If the error is as follows:

  • was filed in a tax return for a fiscal year that concluded less than four years ago.
  • had a net value (the difference between any VAT you overpaid and any VAT you underpaid) less than the £10,000 HMRC reporting threshold
  • was not done on purpose
  • between £10,000 and £50,000 in net worth (but less than 1 percent of the sales your reported in box 6 on the VAT return for the period in which you found the mistakes). Subtract any VAT you overpaid from any VAT you underpaid to determine the amount of your net error.

If your mistakes fit the following conditions, you can correct them in your next VAT return by adding the net value to box 1 (tax owed to HMRC) or box 4 (tax due to your firm).

Want to switch to More Than Accountants? You can get an instant quote online by using the form below. In a like for like comparison for services we are up to 70% cheaper than a high street accountant.

If your VAT return contains errors that do not fit the aforementioned requirements, you must submit them to HMRC.

If you’re unsure whether an inaccuracy on your tax return fulfils the aforementioned conditions, consult a VAT accountants.

RELATED: Should I register for VAT?

Making the necessary adjustments

It’s easy to make the change; all you have to do is:

  • For tax owed to HMRC, enter the net amount in box 1; for tax due to you, enter the net value in box 4.
  • You should also keep track of the type of the error and when it happened. It’s also necessary to fix your own VAT.


Anthony works as a landscaper. He is VAT registered and files quarterly returns. When completing his year-end accounts in December 2017, he realises that he has twice recorded a purchase invoice for £2,400 plus VAT, once in January 2017 and once in February 2017. As a result, he claimed £480 in VAT in the quarter ending February 28, 2017. His next VAT is the quarter ending February 28, 2018, at the time the inaccuracy is revealed. He can repair the error in that return because it occurred within the last four years and within the reporting threshold. The period’s box 1 figure (VAT owed for the period on sales and other outputs) was £5,360 before accounting for the inaccuracy. To pay back the amount reclaimed in error on the earlier return, he must increase the box 1 figure by £480. As a result, his modified box 1 figure is £5,840 (£5,360 + £480).

You must report any errors you find.

The following categories of inaccuracy must be reported (disclosed):

  • an error that exceeds the threshold for reporting
  • an intentional blunder (‘deliberate blunder’)

You won’t be able to make any changes to your VAT Return to address these mistakes.

What is the best way to report an error?

Fill out and email form VAT652 to the VAT Error Correction Team. When HMRC receives your form, you’ll receive an automatic email response.

HMRC will then issue you a notification informing you whether the amount you calculated is correct and whether you owe any interest or tax. A statement with your current balance will also be sent to you.

RELATED: How to become VAT-registered as a sole trader

Previous What Is Self Assessment? How To Complete Your Self Assessment
Next Working From Home? What You Can And Can’t Claim As An Expense
Table of Contents