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Set up and edit VAT settings, codes and rates in QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks841Updated September 20, 2023

Learn how to set up and use the VAT feature in QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks can automatically calculate VAT on your invoices and receipts for easy and accurate filings. Then, it lets you know when your tax payment is due, so you can file on time and avoid extra fees or penalties.

Note: From April 2022, all eligible VAT-registered businesses will have to keep their financial records in a digital form and submit their VAT returns online through Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant software. If you are new to MTD you can follow our guided checklist to get started.

Let’s go ahead and get set up. Learn how to:

Set up VAT in QuickBooks Online

First things first, you'll need the following information when setting up VAT for your company:

  1. In QuickBooks, go to Taxes and select VAT (Take me there).
    Or, go to Get things done and select Set up VAT in QuickBooks.
  2. Select the month you need to start calculating VAT from.
  3. Select your filing frequency for VAT. This is how often you will submit VAT returns to HMRC.
  4. Choose your accounting method.
    • Select Standard (also known as accrual) if you record income and expenses when you send the invoice or receive the bill, regardless if the invoice or bill was paid or not.
    • Select Cash if you record income and expenses at the time you receive the payment or pay the bill.
  5. Enter your 9-digit VAT registration number.
  6. If applicable, tick the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) box and enter the percentage and tax registration date.
  7. Select Next and then OK.

That's it! You can now track VAT from customers, assign VAT categories to products and services, check how much tax you owe and submit returns to HMRC.

Here's a complete guide on VAT codes in QuickBooks Online.

According to the HMRC VAT guide, if you calculate VAT at line level or invoice level you must not round the VAT figure down, but you can round up (or down) each VAT calculation.

  • Round down if the VAT on any transaction comes to less than 0.5 of one penny.
  • Round up if the VAT comes to 0.5 of one penny or more.

Read the HMRC trader's records manual for more information.

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Edit VAT settings

  1. Go to Taxes.
  2. Select the ▼dropdown arrow next to Edit VAT.
  3. Select Edit settings to make changes to the following:
    • VAT period
    • Filing frequency
    • Accounting method
    • 9-digit VAT registration number
    • Other VAT options like FRS rate percentage and tax registration date
    • Turn Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT on/off
  4. Select Save.

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Add or edit VAT rates

You can add another tax rate for VAT, like local tax, that isn't already included in QuickBooks.

  1. Go to Taxes.
  2. Select Add Tax.
  3. Select Tax rate.
  4. Give the new tax rate a name and add a few details in the description.
  5. Select the tax agency it applies to and the rate percentage.
  6. Select Save.

To edit tax rates:

  1. Go to Taxes and select VAT (Take me there).
  2. Select Edit VAT and then Edit Rates.
  3. Select Edit next to the tax rate you want to make changes to.
  4. Make the necessary changes and select Save.

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Show or hide tax rates

If you can't see a particular tax rate in QuickBooks it may be set to 'inactive' and hidden. Here's how you can switch on tax codes or hide codes you no longer use.

  1. Go to Taxes and select VAT (Take me there).
  2. Select Edit VAT and then Edit Rates.
  3. Select the gear icon above the Action column.
  4. Select Include inactive. This will show a list of all the codes that are currently hidden and switched off.
  5. Use the toggle feature against the code you want to switch on/off.

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Add a group rate or custom tax agency

If you need to, you can add a group rate to combine multiple taxes and make applying them to transactions easier. All taxes you include are calculated and charged at once, but we track them separately for you.

Or, you can create a custom tax agency and a tax percentage like an environmental levy, hotel, or petrol tax. You can not delete a tax agency once it has been created.

  1. Go to Taxes.
  2. Select Add Tax.
  3. Select the type of tax you want to add.
  4. Enter the details such as name, description, percentage rate and where it applies.
  5. Select Save.

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View custom tax agency

To view or switch tax agencies:

  1. Go to Taxes.
  2. Select the dropdown arrow next to the current VAT agency, or select the arrow on either side of the Taxes dashboard.

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Turn off VAT

Read our help article and learn how to switch off VAT.

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We're here to help
If you have questions about VAT, or need help fixing an error, let us know. Sign in to QuickBooks and start a discussion in our QuickBooks Community.

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