HMRC is consulting on its approach to mandatory filing of VAT returns online, to ensure that its advice is clear about the alternative options available to businesses or individuals who find it hard or impossible to make online returns.
The move follows a First Tier Tribunal ruling in September which found that the existing regulations had discriminated against a number of businesses which could not file online because of age, disability, lack of computer knowledge or a lack of internet connectivity in remote locations.
The tribunal said that HMRC’s failure to respond adequately to these needs put it in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The judge also said that details of HMRC’s filing by telephone service, which would have been an appropriate alternative, had not been properly published.
HMRC says it has now opened a consultation to look again at our communications on VAT online filing to make them clearer and to ensure that businesses who find it difficult to file online are clearly advised of the options available to them.