Back Dating My First VAT Return

I have been able to submit to HMRC 4 VAT returns and my Quickfile and HMRC Account reflect this, however in error I did not submit what would be my first VAT return from 02 October 2020 to 30 November 2020.

I have tried to use the custom fields and change the dates, however it defaults to my next return which is for the period 1 June 2022 to 31 August 2022.

I have tried telling the system that my VAT start date is earlier, however this has not assisted.

Does anyone know how I can make a custom entry or to back date the return ?

Many thanks


QuickFile will only let you do VAT returns in strict chronological order, no exceptions.

If you want to submit an earlier return then the only way you can do that in QuickFile is

  1. starting from the latest return you’ve submitted, and working backwards from there, make a note of the box 1-9 values you submitted on that return, then roll it back
  2. do the Oct-Nov 2020 return
  3. disable online filing in your QuickFile VAT settings
  4. working forwards from the earliest return, re-create the four returns you have previously submitted, making manual adjustments as necessary to get the numbers to agree with what you actually submitted online. Keep a note of the total adjustment (plus or minus) that you’ve needed to make to each of the nine boxes across the four returns. You may be lucky and have these all add up to zero :crossed_fingers:
  5. turn online filing back on
  6. if your aggregate adjustments were not zero, then when you come to submit your next return you will need to apply the same total adjustments that you noted down in step 4 in reverse (i.e. if the aggregate adjustment you had to apply to one particular box across the four re-created returns was +£5 to line up with what you originally submitted, then adjust the same box by -£5 this time)

And keep detailed records of exactly what you did, possibly including the full detailed “export” of both the original (pre-rollback) and re-created returns for each of the four periods, in case you ever get inspected.

Yes, it’s a pain.


Many thanks for your reply and advice, I will certainly try that, if this does not work, I will ask revenue to issue me with a paper return.

Thanks again.

kind regards


Hi Ian,

I have a similar problem. Thanks for posting this. I would be grateful if you would clarify a few points before I give it a try.

In my case I have missed a return for period ended April 2022. Returns have been submitted prior and after this missed period. I notice in your instructions at point 2 advice to complete the missing return, would this not create another problem for me? Would I have to ignore the period prior to April 22 and then for point 4 recreate the return from period ended 31 July or would periods prior to April need to be reconstructed?

I am not following point 6. Why would aggregate adjustments need to be zero? Why would adjustments be necessary if I am just replicating returns already sent?



The issue is to do with the way that QuickFile handles back dated items. If you submit a return then subsequently discover an invoice/purchase/payment that belongs to that quarter which you hadn’t entered previously, then you can enter it in QuickFile with its correct date (during the quarter you’ve already closed), and it will be included automatically when you do the return for the next quarter. If you were to roll those two quarters back and immediately re-create them the calculations wouldn’t line up with what you’d previously submitted as the “back dated” item would be counted in the period it should have originally belonged to rather than in the (later) return where it was previously reported.

If this happens across two quarters that you rolled back and re created the chances are the aggregate adjustment will be zero (just moving an item from one return to the other) but if you roll back your most recent return and you have back dated items from that period that you haven’t yet submitted in a return, then you’ll end up with a non-zero adjustment to make on your next submission.

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your response.

I followed your instructions and everything seemed to be going to plan. Calculations were correct on the reprepared missing return.

I turned electronic filing back on and tried to send the missing return (I had not at this stage recreated the subsequent return that had already been sent to HMRC). When I tried to send the missing return I got two error messages.

  1. "We’re having a problem preparing your VAT return

error: PERIOD_KEY_INVALID - period key should be a 4 character string"

  1. “You have a saved VAT return that overlaps this period (30 April 2022). Please rollback VAT returns before proceeding.”

I’ve no idea what the first one is, but is the second one referring to the two previously successfully submitted VAT returns (the dates don’t overlap, though). In other words, does it mean that all returns have to be rolled back, regardless of whether they are before or after the missed return?



At this point it’ll probably need someone who works for @QFSupport to look at your account from their side in order to advise further.

1 Like

Hello @SpaceGhost

Unfortunately this error lies with HMRC so you would need to get in touch with them

I also found this similar issue in the forum

I did contact HMRC (VAT) and they said that the issue should be sorted out by the company providing the MTD facility. They refused to send me a form to complete. Snookered.

I too spoke to HMRC and they are sending out the VAT form, should rolling back be unsuccessful - maybe an idea to speak to VAT Helpline