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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Corrections to the register - incorrect entries on the register: duplicate registrations

A duplicate registration occurs when a taxable person appears more than once on the register. It is the person rather than the business which is registered, which is why a person must normally account for all their business activities under a single registration number. There are some exceptions to this rule involving partnerships in Scotland, divisions and trustees.

A person who fulfils the liability or eligibility criteria for more than one Registration Schedule (1, 1A, 2, 3 or 3A) is only permitted to register once.

The High Court decision which reinforced our policy regarding a taxable person having more than one registration number was C & E Commrs v Glassborow and Another QB February 1974, [1974] STC 142; [1975] QB 465; [1974] 1 All ER 1041. In this case, Mr Glassborow and his wife had two businesses as partners and registered both businesses for VAT.

Removal procedure

If you find a duplicate registration, you will need to remove all but one of the entries on the register. The removal should be effected under the provisions of the VAT Act 1994:

  • Schedule 1, paragraph 13(3)
  • Schedule 1A, paragraph 8(2)
  • Schedule 2, paragraph 6(2)
  • Schedule 3, paragraph 6(3), or
  • Schedule 3A, paragraph 6(2)

that is, with effect from the date of admission to the register. Normally, it is the newer registration which should be removed.

Corrective action

Any tax liability declared (or generated) by the duplicate registration must be transferred to, and accounted for by, the remaining registration. If, as a result of the duplication, the person declared less VAT overall than would have been the case had there been only one registration, corrective action will also need to be taken. You may need to raise an assessment to regularise the position.

Any missing VAT returns not submitted by the duplicate registration need not be completed.