The VAT Cash Accounting Scheme can offer useful benefits to small businesses. Under standard VAT accounting, VAT is payable on sales whether or not the customer has paid and can lead to claims for Bad Debt Relief. By using the VAT Cash Accounting Scheme no VAT needs to be paid over to HMRC until the customer has paid for his goods / services. Using the scheme, if the customer does not pay, then the VAT is not payable to HMRC.
The scheme can also have cash flow benefits for any business that sells on credit as they only pay VAT on their sales when the customer pays. If you have cashflow concerns, this scheme could be worth a closer look.
By using the scheme, you can only recover the VAT paid on purchases once you have paid your suppliers.
A business can use the VAT Cash Accounting Scheme provided the estimated VAT taxable turnover for the next VAT year is not more than £1.35 million. There is no requirement to notify HMRC, but you must join the scheme from the beginning of a VAT accounting period.
A business can continue to use the scheme until their VAT taxable turnover exceeds £1.6 million. Businesses that stop using the scheme are also not required to notify HMRC. However, they must pay any outstanding VAT whether their customers have paid or not. Any outstanding VAT can be reported and paid over 6 months.