Changes to VAT penalties and interest
The government announced pre-pandemic that it intended to change the way interest and penalties applied for VAT purposes. After a number of delays the new rules were implemented for VAT periods starting on or after 1 January 2023. The default surcharge was replaced by new penalties if a VAT return is submitted late or VAT is paid late. There are also changes to how VAT interest is calculated. The changes are as follows:
- VAT returns submitted late – late submission penalties will work on a points-based system. For each VAT return submitted late one penalty point will be imposed. Once a penalty threshold is reached, a £200 penalty will apply, with a further £200 penalty for each subsequent late submission.
- Late payment of VAT – the rate of penalty will depend on how late the payment is. However, to give businesses time to get used to the changes, HMRC will not be charging a first late payment penalty for the first year from 1 January 2023 until 31 December 2023, if the VAT is paid in full within 30 days of the payment due date.
- How late payment interest will be charged – for VAT periods starting on or after 1 January 2023, HMRC will charge late payment interest from the day the payment is overdue to the day the payment is made in full.
- Introduction of repayment interest – the repayment supplement was withdrawn from 1 January 2023. For VAT accounting periods starting on or after 1 January 2023, HMRC will pay repayment interest if they are late in making a refund.