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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Basic principles of registration: meaning of person

The word ‘person’ is defined in the Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 1 as including a body of persons, corporate or un-incorporate.

In effect there are two types of persons: ‘legal persons’ and ‘natural persons’.

Legal persons

A legal person is an entity or body which has an existence separate and distinct from the persons (legal or natural) comprising that entity or body.

The following are legal persons

  • corporate bodies
  • corporations sole
  • Scottish partnerships
  • European Economic Interest Groupings.

Natural persons

The following are natural persons

  • sole proprietors
  • partnerships
  • unincorporated associations.

A sole proprietor is a natural person and it is the sole proprietor who is the ‘person’.

In the case of partnerships and associations, it is the sum of the members that is the ‘person’.

Further guidance on defining the status of the person can be found in VATREG08000.