VAT Returns

In a VAT return (or declaration), a taxable person (business) gives the tax authorities in the EU country where they are registered information about:

  • their taxable (taxed/exempt) transactions
  • the VAT they have charged their customers (output tax) and been charged by their suppliers (input tax)
  • the amount of VAT payable (or refundable).

How often do returns have to be made?

This depends on which EU country the business is registered in. The VAT Directive says that returns have to be made at least once a year (Article 252 VAT Directive).

In practice, many EU countries require returns every month or 3 months. In general, businesses with high turnover have to make returns more frequently. But in addition to these ‘periodic returns’, annual returns may also be needed.

The deadline for submitting a return may not be later than 2 months after the end of the return period.

Do I have to make annual returns as well as returns for shorter periods?

In some EU countries, yes. And where it is required, annual returns must contain all the information required in periodic returns, plus the information needed to make any adjustments.

Do returns have to be made online?

In some EU countries, yes – but not in all. But the national tax authorities must allow you to submit your return online, if you want to.

What information must a VAT return contain?

All the information needed to calculate:

  • the tax that has become chargeable (output VAT) and
  • the deductions to be made (input VAT).

If needed to establish the basis of assessment, the return must also contain the total value of related transactions and any exempt transactions (Article 250 VAT Directive).

Returns must also contain, for the return period, the total value (excluding VAT) of:

  • supplies made within the EU on which VAT has become chargeable
  • goods dispatched or transported by or on behalf of the business from the EU country where the return is to be submitted to another EU country, or goods installed or assembled in another EU country on which VAT has become chargeable
  • acquisitions of goods from EU countries, or transactions treated as such, made in the EU country where the return is to be submitted and on which VAT has become chargeable
  • supplies of goods in the EU country where the return must be submitted and for which the business is, as the customer, liable for VAT (Article 197 VAT Directive) and on which VAT has become chargeable.

TRA can ensure that your submitted VAT returns will follow entire rules and regulations in each European country.

For free fee proposal Send Enquiry through the contact form or via e-mail to and an expert will respond shortly.

Text includes information from EU site: 


©TRA – Tax Representative Alliance