1. Overview

You must register for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your business turnover is more than £81,000. You can register voluntarily if it’s below this, unless everything you sell is exempt.

When you register, you’ll be sent a VAT registration certificate. This confirms:

  • your VAT number
  • when to submit your first VAT Return and payment
  • your ‘effective date of registration’ - this is the date you went over the threshold, or the date you asked to register if it was voluntary

Your VAT responsibilities

From the effective date of registration you must:

  • charge the right amount of VAT
  • pay any VAT due to HMRC
  • submit VAT Returns
  • keep VAT records and a VAT account

You can also reclaim the VAT you’ve paid on certain purchases made before you registered.

While you wait

You can’t charge or show VAT on your invoices until you get your VAT number. However, you’ll still have to pay the VAT to HMRC for this period.

You should increase your prices to allow for this and tell your customers why. Once you’ve got your VAT number you can then reissue the invoices showing the VAT.

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