Whatever your business structure you may need to register for VAT, or equally take advantage of the benefits of being VAT registered.

If your business turnover reaches or is expected to reach the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000 (from 1st April 2017), during any 12-month period, you will need to register your business for VAT.

Equally, even if you are not predicting this level of turnover, you are still able to register for VAT and therefore reclaim the VAT on goods and services and be ready for any future business growth.

See also: Top 10 things you must do when going self-employed

There are two ways you can register for VAT:


To register for VAT online you will first need to register for HMRC Online Services or the Government Gateway if you are not already registered. This will give you a unique log-in which will allow you future access to the Government portal, and wider services.

Once you are up and running, go to the VAT registration page and complete the required forms. You will need the following details:

  • National Insurance (NI) number
  • Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) (limited companies only)
  • Certificate of incorporation/incorporation details
  • Details of all associated businesses within the last two years
  • Business bank account details
  • Details of the business that has been transferred (acquired), if applicable

See also: How to prepare an invoice

By post

If you are unable to register online, you must, register by post using the following forms depending on your circumstances:

  • Applying for registration exception
  • Joining the Agricultural Flat Rate Scheme
  • Registering the divisions or business units of a body corporate under separate VAT numbers
  • For EU businesses ‘distance selling to the UK’
  • If you import goods worth more than £85,000 from another EU country
  • If you're intending to dispose of goods on which you, or a predecessor, has claimed, or is intending to claim, a repayment of VAT under Directive 2008/9 or 13th Directive refund arrangements

Once you have received your VAT number, you can sign-up for a VAT online account.

VAT 4 - Certificate of registration for VAT

Once you have registered, you should receive your certificate of registration, VAT 4, which will state:

  • Your VAT registration number
  • The date you need to submit your first VAT return and payment
  • Your effective date of registration or registration date

Whichever route you choose, all newly VAT registered businesses are required to submit their VAT return and any VAT payments electronically.

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