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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

HM Revenue & Customs
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Voluntary registration: how to establish entitlement to register as an intending trader: evidence required to demonstrate an applicant's intention to make taxable supplies

Here you need to gain an understanding of the business which is already in place or is being set up, and you need to be satisfied that it is not the type of business which will be involved solely in the making of exempt supplies.

In many cases, the evidence submitted in connection with the ‘in-business’ test should also suffice as evidence of an intention to make taxable supplies, so it may not always be necessary for a trader to provide (or for us to request) two sets of evidence. For example, if you are provided with a copy contract (or a copy of a bid for a competitive tender) and it is clear from that contract that the intended outcome will result in the making of taxable supplies, no other evidence will be required.