VAT penalties – New rules
The VAT default surcharge is being replaced with a new VAT penalty and interest regime. The new rules apply to VAT accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2023.
Late filing penalties
The new penalty regime operates on a points-based system. Each VAT return received late, including nil and repayment returns, will receive one late submission penalty point. A penalty will be charged when the points reach a certain threshold. The penalty trigger depends on the frequency with which returns are submitted.
Penalty points threshold
Period of compliance
Once the penalty threshold is reached, a penalty of £200 is charged. Further penalties of £200 are charged for each subsequent late submission.
The points total can be reset to zero if all returns are submitted on or before the due date for the period of compliance and all returns due for the previous 24 months have been submitted to HMRC.
Late payment penalties
A penalty may also be charged if VAT owed to HMRC is paid late. The penalty depends on how late the payment is made.
No penalty is charged if payment is made within 15 days of the due date. If payment is made between 16 and 30 days after the due date, a penalty equal to 2% of the VAT owing at day 15 is charged. Where payment is made 31 days or more after the due date, the penalty charged is equal to 2% of the VAT owing at day 15 plus 2% of the VAT owing at day 31. Where a time to pay agreement is agreed, penalties are calculated by reference to the date on which the arrangement is made.
A further penalty is charged when the balance is cleared or a time to pay arrangement agreed. This is calculated at a daily rate of 4% a year for the duration of the debt.
To allow traders time to become familiar with the new rules, late payment penalties will not be charged during the first year (1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023) where payment is made in full within 30 days of the due date.
Late payment interest
From 1 January 2023, late payment interest will be charged on late paid VAT from the due date until the date payment is made in full. Late payment interest is charged at a rate equal to the Bank of England bank base rate plus 2.5%.
The repayment supplement is withdrawn from 1 January 2023. Instead, for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2023, HMRC will pay repayment interest on VAT that they owe. The interest period will run from the due date (or date the VAT was submitted if this is later) to the date that payment is made in full by HMRC.
Repayment interest is paid at a rate equal to the Bank of England base rate minus 1%, subject to a minimum rate of 0.5%.