How to register for VAT online

How to register for VAT online

You can register your business for VAT online.

Please note that it can take around a month or even longer to process a VAT application. This is a straightforward process and is done on the HMRC website (when registering online). Below are the steps you’ll need to take.

If you don’t have a Government Gateway ID:

  • Go to the Register for HMRC taxes page, select the appropriate option then click the “next” button to go through the pages.
  • On the final page, select “Create an account for me”.
  • Enter your details to create your Government Gateway ID. Keep your user ID and password in a safe place as you’ll need to refer to them regularly.
  • On the sign in page, enter your Government Gateway details.
  • Once logged in, scroll down to the “Get another tax, duty or scheme” section of the page and click the button underneath this.
  • Select VAT and follow the final steps to complete your VAT registration application.

If you have a Government Gateway ID:

  • Go to the Register for HMRC taxes page, select the appropriate option then click the “next” button to go through the pages.
  • On the final page, select “I have an account – login”.
  • On the sign in page, enter your Government Gateway details.
  • Once logged in, scroll down to the “Get another tax, duty or scheme” section of the page and click the button underneath this.
  • Select VAT and follow the final steps to complete your VAT registration application.

Essential documents for VAT registration

To compete your VAT registration, you’ll have to supply your business contact details, bank account, Unique Tax Reference number (10 digit number), details of your turnover and the nature of your business.

VAT online account and VAT certificate

  • Once you’ve registered for VAT, the system will create a VAT online account for you, sometimes known as a Government Gateway account. This is where your VAT certificate will be sent – it takes up to 30 days for you to receive it.
  • The VAT certificate confirms your VAT number and tells you when you will need to submit your first VAT return and payment.
  • You’re then ready to submit your VAT returns on a quarterly basis. You’ll usually receive automatic reminders from VAT about when to do this.

You will need to start your VAT accounting not from the date at which you receive your VAT number but the date you were obliged to register for VAT because you hit the £85,000 threshold or the time you decided to register on a voluntary basis.

Operating within the VAT system but without a VAT number that you can quote to clients when invoicing them can obviously be difficult. You can’t charge VAT.

However, HMRC suggests you increase the amount on your invoices by 20% (the current level of VAT) and explain to clients that you’ll reissue the invoices with the VATable amount once you receive your VAT number.

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