How to get a VAT number
If a business makes any kind of taxable supply, it can register for VAT. Registration may be voluntary if the business is under the VAT threshold, or compulsory if the business makes taxable supplies over the VAT threshold.
The VAT threshold is £85,000 in a rolling 12 months and VAT registration is a straightforward process that can be done online using a government gateway account. If you do not have one, you can set this up as part of the process.
The online form will ask for certain pieces of information that you should have to hand including:
- Home address
- National insurance number
- Business address
- Business activities
- Details from any incorporation certificate
It is also an opportunity to apply for any of the simplification schemes HMRC offer, such as Annual Accounting and the Flat Rate Scheme, along with an EORI number for any imports and exports you may do. You can also request what VAT periods you prefer, which can be quarterly or monthly.
If you do not have a UK establishment or a UK national insurance number, you can still register for VAT but will be required to provide additional ID information.
You do not have to complete the application all at once, you can go back and amend or add to the application over time, but any application will be deleted after 90 days if it is not submitted.
Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail and, you may receive your VAT registration number within a few days. HMRC may take longer if your application is for a non-resident company or VAT group. There may also be a delay if there are further questions or for a routine random check, but this is not usually a cause for concern. The time these checks can take will depend on a variety of factors including the current workload of HMRC.
HMRC will send you an e-mail to alert you to any messages on your account. You can also set up alerts from this account to remind you that a VAT return is due to be submitted.
Once a VAT number is issued, you will receive a VAT certificate in the post shortly after but these can also be downloaded from your Government Gateway account where you can also make changes to your account and where you will submit your VAT returns in the future.
There are certain, limited, circumstances where a business may request exemption from VAT registration but it will still need to request this exception from HMRC.
It can be helpful to seek professional VAT advice to confirm your eligibility to register for VAT or request an exception.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact our team today. Alternatively, to learn more about VAT, check out the following posts: