This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Voluntary registration: making taxable supplies below the threshold: is there a business?

A person who makes any taxable supply by way of business, irrespective of value, is entitled to register for VAT. Although there is no definition in VAT legislation, some guidelines on what constitutes a business have been established from Court and Tribunal decisions. In addition, a person undertaking preparatory activities for the setting up of a business is considered to be in business for these purposes, see VATREG22000.

In order to be considered to be made in the course or furtherance of business, taxable supplies made must show:

  • continuity
  • frequency
  • regularity, and
  • scale.

Persons who make taxable activities as one-off events may be in business, but anything that is done as a hobby or pastime is unlikely to be a business for VAT purposes. Further guidance on business and non-business can be found in VBNB. (External users can find the guidance at

If there are any doubts that you cannot resolve locally, you should contact the policy team responsible for the particular activity.

A person registered on a voluntary basis is required to charge and account for VAT in the same way as any other registered person.