Dictionary
Debitoor's accounting dictionary
Nil VAT Return

Nil VAT Return - What is a Nil VAT Return?

A Nil VAT Return, also called a Zero VAT Return, is a report submitted to HMRC by a UK VAT registered business in the case that there is no VAT due during the accounting period.

Does your business sell zero-rated or VAT exempt products? Find out how to properly invoice for these goods on our blog: ‘Zero-rated and VAT-exempt products or services & your invoices’.

It’s a common misconception that you do not need to submit a VAT Return if you had no trading activity during an accounting period. If you are a VAT registered business, you must submit a VAT Return every quarter, and if you had no trading activity, you will need to submit a Nil VAT Return.

Who can file a Nil VAT Return?

A Nil VAT Return can only be submitted to HMRC in specific circumstances. These include if your business is:

  • VAT registered and had no trading activity in the period
  • VAT registered solely to use the VAT MOSS Scheme and are below the VAT threshold
  • Newly registered for VAT and trading has been delayed

If you were previously trading and stopped trading for one or multiple accounting periods, HMRC may review if your business should still be registered for VAT.

How to file a Nil VAT Return

A Nil Return is very simple to submit. You can submit your return online through the HMRC website, or alternatively, send a paper report in the post.

The only difference between your standard VAT Return and a Nil VAT Return is what data is shown on the document. If you had no transactions during this period, you would simply enter ‘0,00’ in each box of the VAT Return.

Here is an example of a Nil VAT Return using Debitoor invoicing software:

Example of Nil VAT Return

Using invoicing software to submit a Nil VAT Return

Invoicing software not only helps you create and send invoices, but it also helps you create and submit your VAT Returns!

With Debitoor, you can connect directly to HMRC so you can view, create, and submit your quarterly return directly through Debitoor, rather than logging into HMRC.

Debitoor will automatically update your return every time you add a payment to an invoice or record an expense.

Want to give it a try? Sign up to our 7-day trial to start creating VAT Returns in just a few clicks.