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Level 1

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Hi all. Hoping for some help with how to enter a bit of an unusual transaction so it gets folded into the VAT return. Details as follows:

  • I purchased a machine from China. I paid 60% deposit in Feb this year - no VAT. I paid 40% balance in May this year - again, no VAT. The machine then shipped to the UK by sea.
  • On entry to the UK last week there was VAT payable. The VAT was paid to the UK shipping agent acting on my behalf who in turn passed it on to HMRC as part of the customs clearance process.

My question is - how do I record this payment purely as VAT? . . . .  I have an invoice from the logistics company that is all VAT - If I enter a bill or expense the value of the actual item is £0 because the full amount of the payment is VAT. As an example - (not actual number) : Bill amount = £1000, VAT amount = £1000, transaction amount is £0.

The only Account codes available are "VAT Control" and "VAT suspense" both current liabilities. 


I hope that makes sense and would appreciate any advice on how to record this correctly so it gets rolled into the next VAT return 

QuickBooks Team

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

I've got you some ways how to record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment, @mr_metal_man.


QuickBooks Online tracks your payment due dates in one place so you can avoid late returns and extra fees. To record VAT in your account, here's what you need to do:


  1. Go to Taxes, then choose VAT.
  2. Click Payments, then select Record Payment.
  3. Choose the bank account you've used to pay HMRC.
  4. Input the payment date and amount in the appropriate fields.
  5. Add a memo if needed.
  6. Lastly, click Save.


In addition, VAT Control and VAT suspense are only the default accounts use to record VAT payment. I also suggest to consult Accountant. They can provide the correct information and accounts to utilize and ensure your records are accurate.


I'm adding these articles to help you manage VAT in QuickBooks:



Get back to us here if you have other questions about tracking your VAT-related transactions. I'm always here to help. Keep safe!

Level 1

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Thank you for the reply. 

I have tried what you suggested but cannot see any way of doing this.


I go to Taxes. I look at VAT

There are 2 tabs - Payments and Returns

In the Payments tab I can see no option or button to "Make Payment" as you suggest. There are buttons for viewing and deleting existing VAT payments. There are options for viewing various reports. There are options for editing and creating tax codes.


On the Returns tab I can see past returns that have been paid. And I can see the open return that is in progress for this VAT quarter. But there are no options to add a payment here either. Only options to prepare the return or view various options but nothing that will allow me to post a payment.


So I am still stuck.


How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Hello there, @mr_metal_man.


I appreciate you coming back and updating us on the results after following the steps above.


To record VAT payment on your QuickBooks Online (QBO) account, you'll have first to file a return. If done, go to the Returns tab to record the payment. 


Let me show you how:

  1. Go to the Taxes menu on your QBO account.
  2. Choose the VAT tab.
  3. Select Returns
  4. Locate the returns you've paid in the Filed returns section.
  5. Click Record payments from the Action columns.
  6. Enter the VAT payment details.
  7. Click the Save button. 


To help you manage VAT in QuickBooks, here are some articles that you can visit:


I'll be right here to help if you need anything else. Enjoy the rest of your day, @mr_metal_man.

Level 1

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

I don't believe this is correct.

I need to record the payment BEFORE the VAT return is filed otherwise the amount of the return will be wrong.


I am an experienced QB user and familiar with submitting VAT returns.


So we have come full circle - I still need a way of posting this amount to the VAT account.

Level 1

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

I called the help desk and Hannah talked me through it.

Posting here as it may be useful to others.



Hello Andrew,

Recording a 100% VAT expense can be a bit tricky in QuickBooks Online, but don't worry, we have a a step-by-step guide on how to record it.

  1. Click on the + sign and choose Expense.
  2. Either choose a payee or leave that box empty.
  3. On the first line of the expense choose any of your Expense accounts
  4. For the amount enter a pound (1) and choose 20% S as the VAT code.
  5. On the second line choose the same expense account.
  6. For the amount, enter minus a pound (-1) and choose 0% VAT as the VAT code.
  7. The total of the expense will show as 0.
  8. Under the Subtotal box the VAT box will become editable.
  9. Enter the desired VAT amount into the VAT box and Save the expense.

This will create a 100% VAT transaction that will show in Box 4 on the VAT return.

Kind regards
Intuit QuickBooks | Customer Success Representative

John C
QuickBooks Team

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Hi mr_metal_man If you'd like to record a transaction that is purely VAT and reclaim the amount in your VAT return/submission you will have to:

Select New+ > Expense > ensure that you enter the bank account that the amount was debited from in the Payment account field and the date the amount was debited in the Payment date field > on line one in the category column select the purchases account > In the Amounts are field enter Exclusive of Tax > in the amount field enter 0.01 > in the VAT column enter 20%S (20%) > on line two enter the same purchases account as line one in the category column > in the amount column enter -0.01 > in the VAT column enter Exempt > enter the amount of VAT you would to reclaim in the VAT field between the Subtotal and Total. We've also included an image of what the transaction should look like below.

Level 1

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Yes, indeed this is how I resolved it after the QB care people helped me through it.


QuickBooks Team

How do I record VAT paid to HMRC as a payment

Hello Mr_metal_man, that is great to hear you are all sorted with your issue, hope you have a nice afternoon. 

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