The VAT Return

The VAT Return in Xero shows the VAT amount your organisation owes to HMRC, or is owed by HMRC. The return is prepared using the VAT period and scheme in your financial settings. The VAT calculation depends on when and how you've entered transactions.

If you use a flat rate VAT reporting scheme, see Flat Rate VAT Return.

Before you start

We recommend you:

  • Check you've entered all transactions for the return period (eg, all invoices, bills, credit notes, and manual journals).
  • Run the Bank Reconciliation Summary report for all bank accounts for the end of your VAT Return period. Check that all bank accounts are reconciled at that date.
  • Generate the General Ledger report and check it for any exceptions.
  • If this is your first VAT Return in Xero, check your VAT details are correct in your Financial Settings.
  • If this isn't your first VAT Return in Xero, check you've published all previous periods' returns in date order.

Run your VAT Return

  1. In the Reports menu, select All Reports.
  2. Under Tax, click VAT Return.
  3. Select the return date.
  4. (Optional, but not recommended) Clear the checkbox to exclude VAT Late Claims.
  5. Click Update.

    Image showing VAT Return header info.

  6. Review the return.
  7. See how Xero populates the boxes on the VAT Return.
  8. Either:

Adviser review

You can choose to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to review the VAT Return before you publish in Xero, or file with HMRC.

  1. In the green window at the top of your return, click ask your adviser to review this return.

    Image showing link to ask adviser to review.

  2. Complete the email and select a user in your organisation who has the Adviser user role. They can then log in to your organisation to review your VAT Return.

    Request VAT Return review from adviser.

  3. Click Send.

Xero saves the return on the Reports Drafts tab.

Export and print the VAT Return

If you have the Adviser, Standard + All Reports or Read Only user role, you can export the VAT Return to Microsoft Excel, PDF or Google Sheets formats. You can also print directly from your browser.

When you export your VAT Return, the VAT Audit Report is included. In Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, each report displays on a separate tab.

When you're ready, publish the VAT Return and file with HMRC.