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First VAT return problem

I am trying to finalise and send to HMRC my first VAT return. I have entered all of the purchases and sales with all of the VAT details - correctly I’m pretty sure, but when I look at my first VAT return there is only a very small purchases figure, and zero sales!
Help please!

First thing to check is that you’re trying to file the correct period. Second, check the “VAT start date” in your account settings - QuickFile will not pick up anything from before this date. The third possibility is that if you are on cash accounting then it’s the date of payment that matters, not the date of the invoice - unpaid invoices won’t contribute to the VAT return on cash accounting.

On the VAT return preparation screen you can “download calculations” to get a CSV you can open in Excel or similar to see exactly which items have been counted in the totals you’re seeing.

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Hi Ian, thank you very much for your reply. I have now entered the correct dates, and the VAT due on sales and the VAT reclaimed on purchases figures are both significantly too low.

Any idea why please?

Hi Ian, the incorrect low figures appear on “Cash Accounting” with a blue rectangular box that states “Period Key:19A1” whatever that means?!

Check the “download calculations” CSV (you can upload it into google sheets if you don’t have excel), that tells you exactly what has been included and hopefully you can see a pattern to what has and what hasn’t.


Thank you. But you’ve no idea why the VAT figures for both purchases and sales are too low? Or what “Period Key:19A1” means?

I definitely entered all of the figures for purchases and sales correctly.

Hi @yrtcmp

The period key is specified by HMRC. It’s what they provide to ensure the right period matches. I believe the same period key appears in your HMRC account too.

As @ian_roberts mentions, the backing report from the “Download Calculations” button will list anything included in that return. If there’s something specific missing, you may notice a particular pattern.

As you’re on cash accounting it’s always worth remembering that it’s the payment date and not the invoice date that’s taken into account here. If the payment occurred after the selected period, it won’t be included in this return.

Hi Mathew, yes I understand re The Period Key, and the relevance of the payment date, but the purchases and sales figures are too low. I see no explanation for the sales figures being way too low - the sales figure is also a very round figure - of £22,500, which is nothing like the actual figure for the 3 month period.

Hi Mathew, have just discovered that the sales figure does not include April, which is dated 30/4/19, and I’m doing the VAT quarter From Feb 1st to April 30th, so why is it not included please?

When was this invoice paid?

It was paid on 30 April 2019. Payment is set within 1 day - I’ve even tried dating it 29 April 2019 and it still isn’t included in the summary figure for sales for the period!

It also isn’t showing on the Download Calculations report.

I’ll send you a private message shortly to get a few details from you, and see if anything stands out to me. You should see a green notification in the top right corner in a few moments.

@yrtcmp - I’ve removed your post above as it was on the public forum.

I’ll take a look when I’m next at a computer and respond in the private message.

Hi @yrtcmp

I have had a look at your account and your April sales are showing with a payment date of 22.05.19.

since you are set up for Cash Accounting this date is outside of your VAT period and that is why it is not being picked up with your return.

The VAT return takes into account the actual date of Payment rather than the date of invoice. In order to include this you will need to amend the payment date.

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