I'm VAT registered for my main employment and fill in returns once a quarter. Obviously my invoices give a net and gross amount, for the VAT.
I sometimes carry out internet surveys on the web for small amounts, a couple of pounds, sometimes. These are flat rates, non-negotiable, and the money goes straight to a Paypal account, or sometimes comes in the form of an Amazon voucher. I enter all the amounts as outputs on my records.
But there is no option of getting VAT paid on these amounts. So when I fill in a VAT return I include the total amount I am getting for all these little jobs, but how do I account for the VAT? Am I expected to take it off the amount I receive from the agencies? If I did this, and paid to HM CUstoms and Excise, I would be receiving less than a non-VAT registered worker, which wouldn't seem fair.
Any advice from an accountant or book-keeper or someone else who knows would be very gratefully received.
What you are doing is definately wrong: either this income is subject to VAT (in which case you must account for VAT on it, putting the amount of VAT and the net amount in the appropriate boxes on the VAT return) or it is not (in which case nothing goes on your VAT return).
Only income from a business is subject to VAT. I suppose if your business was providing market research data it could be argued by HMRC that filling in these surveys was part of that business, but it would be difficult to prove and unless the amounts are significant I can't see that they would bother. So only if this income was a business in its own right would it be subject to VAT. The words 'sometimes', 'small amounts' and 'non-negotiable' and the fact that you don't appear to solicit any work, all point towards a non-business activity. HMRC's view on this is included here.
So unless there is more to this than you describe, this is a non-business activity that does not go on your VAT return.