A VAT return is a form that you file with the concerned tax authority. Let us talk about EU VAT returns by businesses, non taxable legal entities, tax representatives and customers.
VAT returns in EU by businesses making taxable supplies
In the case of VAT returns by businesses making taxable supplies the VAT return should contain information about output tax and input tax. Information needed to calculate the tax that becomes chargeable is called output VAT and the deductions to be made are called input VAT. The businesses also have to divulge information about the total VAT that becomes applicable on their supplies. The VAT returns should contain information of transactions when a business in one EU country dispatches goods and the return is to be filed in another EU country. VAT return needs to be filed when goods are assembled in a country other than the country in which the business exists and VAT becomes chargeable on this assembly. The last two cases in which EU VAT returns by businesses making taxable supplies needs to be filed are when the acquisition of goods takes place in EU countries and when supplies of goods takes place in EU country.
VAT returns by non taxable legal entities
Nontaxable legal entities have to submit the returns in the same way as a business in the following cases. The first such case is when the supplier does not have an exemption under the special scheme which exists for small businesses and when the supplier does not get graduated relief. The second such scenario in which non taxable entities have to pay VAT and file a return is when a supply is not treated as being taken place in EU.
VAT returns by tax representative
A tax representative has to submit returns in the same way as a business when he is appointed as the contact point/person liable to pay VAT on a transaction on behalf of a business which is based in another country.
VAT return by customers
Customers liable to pay tax need to include the following information in their VAT return, for instance, they should provide the information about if and when they receive supplies of natural gas and related things from a supplier in another EU country. Other information needed to be furnished is when the customer is receiving services in an EU country and the supplier based in other EU country. More information that is to be provided by the customer is when he receives supplies for which VAT is to be paid according to the reverse charge mechanism. When the customer is the final customer in a triangular transaction then the customer needs to divulge that in the return and finally the customer needs to disclose when he was involved in a transaction related to gold, or gold material or semi-manufactured products.
I would like to conclude by saying that in some countries you need to file a return every year but in most cases, returns have to be filed quarterly or monthly.