HomeVAT Returns: A Pillar of International Tax Compliance

VAT Returns: A Pillar of International Tax Compliance

Managing and complying with VAT return requirements can pose several challenges for corporates, especially those that operate across multiple jurisdictions or engage in complex transactions.

What is a VAT Return?

A VAT Return, led by European Commission guidelines, is a formal declaration submitted by businesses. This document lists detailed data on sales and purchases totals and their respective VAT. The resulting difference will determine whether businesses must make a payment or receive a rebate. Each country distinguishes the frequency and specifiers of these submissions, hence the importance of adapted solutions. 

The deduction and reduction mechanism of the VAT ensures that no tax remains on those outside the end consumer to whom sales are made. Those in the producer-distributor chain deduct the tax they pay from the tax they collect and thus ensure that no tax remains on them. In this way, the tax burden is kept on the end consumer. 

How RTC Suite simplifies VAT Return Management:

Automated Calculations

RTC Suite can automatically calculate VAT amounts based on set rates and rules for various jurisdictions.

Integration with Accounting Systems

RTC Suite integrates seamlessly with businesses’ existing accounting or ERP systems.

Real-time Regulatory Updates

RTC Suite reflects changes in VAT regulations across different jurisdictions.

Centralized Record-Keeping

RTC Suite provides a centralized platform for storing all relevant documentation, from invoices to credit notes.

Reporting and Analytics

RTC Suite offers built-in reporting features, generating the required VAT return forms and offering insights into VAT liabilities and credits.

Automated Cross-border Considerations

For companies dealing with cross-border transactions, RTC Suite can automatically determine the place of supply and apply the correct VAT treatment.

How Does Vat Return Work? 

A VAT refund is a reimbursement by the government under the VAT Law when the VAT paid by a business on its purchases is more than the VAT collected on its sales. 

Your business must be a VAT payer and you must file a VAT return. 

In order to receive a VAT refund, you must prepare the VAT declaration for the relevant period and calculate VAT accruals and VAT deductions on the declaration. 

1-Collection and Payment of VAT: Businesses collect VAT when they sell goods or services and pass this VAT on to their customers. At the same time, businesses must record and account for the VAT they pay to their suppliers when they purchase goods and services. 

 2-VAT Refunds and Refund Claims: For VAT refund claims, businesses calculate the amount of VAT they collect in a given period (usually a month or quarter). Refund claims arise when a business’s VAT payments exceed its VAT collections. 

3-VAT Refund Application: Businesses submit VAT refund claims to the competent tax authorities. Applications are usually filed electronically and may need to be submitted within a certain period of time. 

4- Review and Approval Process: The tax authority may review the business’s VAT refund claims. This review process may include auditing the business’ documents and accounts. If everything is in order, the VAT refund is approved. 

 5-VAT Refund: The approved VAT refund is paid to the business. The refund is usually made by bank transfer or check. 

How to Fill in a Vat Return? 

To file a VAT return, start by providing business information, including the VAT number and reporting period. Next, sales and purchases should be recorded, distinguishing between standard rate, reduced rate and zero rate transactions. Calculate the VAT owed to the tax authorities by deducting input VAT (VAT on purchases) from output VAT (VAT on sales). Any additional information or adjustments required by the tax authorities, such as reverse charge transactions or special schemes, must be included. Ensure that the VAT declaration is correct and submitted to the tax authority within the specified deadline. Keeping records in order and understanding local tax regulations is crucial for a smooth VAT refund process. 

Example of a VAT return 

A VAT refund claim application should be prepared to request a refund of VAT paid for a specific period. Here are the important elements that must be included in a VAT refund claim application: 

1-Application Petition: You must submit your request with an official petition. The petition must clearly state the reason for your application, the period and the amount of VAT you are requesting to refund. The petition must include your company details, contact details and signature. 

 2-VAT Declaration: You must attach a copy of the VAT declaration for the relevant period. This confirms the VAT amounts reported in the declaration. 

 3-Invoices and Receipts: You must attach all invoices, receipts and documents for the period to support your VAT refund claim. These documents must explain why you paid VAT and why you are claiming a refund. 

 4-Transaction Document: You must attach a transaction document stating the reason why you are claiming the VAT refund. For example, a statement of the reasons for exports, export-oriented services or special VAT exemptions for specific sectors can be included in this document. 

5-Refund Request Form: Some countries may require a special refund request form for VAT refund claims. You must complete your application by filling out this form. 

 6-Other Relevant Documents: If there are other documents needed to support your refund claim, you should include them. For example, there may be documents such as a tax identification number, trade registry record, etc. 

 7-Required Signatures: Your application must have the signatures of authorized persons. This shows that your application is valid and that your claim is made on behalf of your company. 

 8-Process Information: To speed up the processing of your application, you must ensure that you comply with certain processes that the tax office or relevant authority may require. Where required, you should organize your documents accordingly. 

 9-Date and Application Number: Specifying the date of your application and a unique application number makes it easier to track your application.

How to Calculate VAT?

The calculation of value added tax (VAT) is a fundamental aspect of financial and fiscal management for businesses in many countries. VAT is usually applied to the added value of goods and services at any stage of production or distribution. The following is a brief overview of the calculation of VAT: 

VAT rate: the first step is to determine the applicable VAT rate for your goods or services. VAT Rates can vary from country to country and often include standard rates, reduced rates and zero rates for certain items. 

Net Value: Calculate the net value of your goods or services. This is the selling price before VAT. 

VAT Amount: To calculate the amount of VAT, multiply the net value by the decimal rate of VAT. For example, if the net value is $1,000 and the VAT rate is 20%, the VAT amount is $200 (1,000 * 0.20). 

Gross Value: The gross value is the total amount a customer pays, including VAT. To determine it, add the net value and the amount from VAT together. In our example, the gross value would be $1,200 (1,000 + 200). 

Keep accurate records: It’s important to keep accurate records of your VAT calculations as they’re required for tax reporting and compliance. 

VAT Submitting Returns: Depending on your country’s regulations, you may be required to file periodic VAT returns with your tax authority. These tax returns include the VAT you took in (output VAT) and the VAT you paid for purchases (input VAT). The difference between these two amounts is usually the VAT that you owe or that is due to you as a refund. 

Knowing how to calculate VAT and comply with tax regulations will help you manage your finances efficiently and meet your tax obligations. It’s advisable to consult a tax professional or accountant to ensure accurate VAT calculations and compliance with local tax laws.


When to do a VAT Return?

In the realm of tax technology, a VAT Return is typically submitted at the end of each tax period as defined by the respective tax authority. Advanced tax software solutions notify businesses of upcoming VAT Return deadlines, ensuring compliance and timely submissions.

How often should I submit a VAT Return?

The frequency of VAT Return submissions varies by jurisdiction. Most commonly, businesses are required to submit on a monthly or quarterly basis. Tax technology platforms can automate this process, scheduling and reminding businesses based on their specific reporting requirements.

Can I resubmit my VAT return if I’ve made an error?

Yes, in most jurisdictions, if businesses discover errors in your submitted VAT Return, amendments can be made. Modern tax technology systems have in-built error checks, greatly reducing discrepancies and miscalculations. However, if an error is detected post-submission, the software can aid in the correction and resubmission process.

Is a VAT the same as a tax?

While VAT (Value Added Tax) is a form of tax, it specifically pertains to the added value on goods and services at each stage of production or distribution. Tax technology distinguishes between different tax types, ensuring that VAT calculations and other tax computations are treated separately but integrated within the same system for seamless reporting.

Who needs to complete a VAT return?

Any business registered for VAT in a jurisdiction that enforces it is typically required to submit a VAT Return. Through tax technology solutions, businesses can automate the process of determining whether they’re liable for VAT in various jurisdictions, thereby streamlining compliance and reporting tasks.

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