HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has reminded businesses of changes to the rules on VAT which mean that many must now file returns and make payments online.

Under the new rules, existing VAT-registered businesses with annual turnovers of £100,000 or more (excluding VAT), and any businesses which registered for VAT from 1 April 2010, must now file their VAT returns online and make their VAT payments electronically.

Since most businesses submit their returns on a quarterly basis, firms are being reminded that the first tranche of returns affected by the new rules cover the period from April to June 2010.

That means returns must be filed online by 7 August.

Stephen Banyard, the director of HMRC’s business customer unit, said: “The vast majority of customers affected by the new arrangements have already enrolled for HMRC’s VAT Online service, and many have also filed their first returns online.

“However, if you’re a VAT-registered trader who’s affected by these changes and you haven’t yet signed up, you need to take action now.”

Businesses that need to register the VAT online service should go to the HMRC website – – and follow the instructions there.