The one good thing about submitting your VAT Return is that you have a whole month to do it. The bad news is that like a lot of human beings, we procrastinate and we get started just before the end date. Why, oh, why, do we do this to ourselves! It’s because we’re not organized. We’re really good at our craft or service, but we suck at business.
So, here are the 5 steps to successfully submitting your VAT return.
Step 1. Buy or create a system for producing, logging and compiling all your invoices and receipt.
Like the Businessmentals UAE VAT Return System, which is Excel-based and stupid-simple. There are others, including some online. And if it creates a highly accurate return form identical to the online VAT return form (like ours does) well, you’re quids in! And if it was designed in the UAE for the UAE, well you cannot go wrong!
Step 2: Make sure every invoice has a sequential Tax Invoice number on it.
So many manual systems are at risk of missing numbers out or doubling up. How do I know? Because this is what I used to do. When it didn’t matter because my non-existent records didn’t require auditing, it didn’t matter. A quick phone call to the client solved things. Their records were just as bad!
But now when you could be audited at any moment, having to explain that you missed or doubled up on a number will not cause the tax inspectors to break into gusts of laughter at your silly little faux pas. They will be very underwhelmed indeed!
Step 3: Log all your tax receipts, which come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of slipperiness.
And then put them somewhere secure. They can slip down behind the couch, get chewed by the cat, or washed with your jeans. And if you don’t have the paper copy, don’t risk your freedom by “guessing” the amount you paid. Remember the tax inspectors and their spectacular lack of humour!
Step 4: Assemble all your bits and pieces a week before you need to complete the online form.
Do a dry run to find out what you are missing. Consider it a rehearsal for the big gig! Go online and take a screen shot of the FTA form so you know what to expect. (Or use our UAE VAT Return System, which produces a form which is identical to the FTA online form so you just have to cut and paste. Just sayin’.)
Step 5. Get it done on time.
And set that time as the 21st day of the cycle, not the last day! Doing it early on the 21st day of the new moon is what the ancient Mayan civilization did with their highly-organized way of doing things. (I just made that up, but I have never let the facts get in the way of a good story!)