2. How to register

Register for VAT

Most businesses can register online - including partnerships and a group of companies registering under one VAT number.

By doing this you’ll register for VAT and create a VAT online account (sometimes known as a ‘Government Gateway account’). You need this to submit your VAT Returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Using an agent

You can appoint an accountant (or agent) to submit your VAT Returns and deal with HMRC on your behalf.

When you receive your VAT number from HMRC, you can sign up for a VAT online account (select option ‘VAT submit returns’).

When you can’t register online

You must register by post using VAT1 if:

Register by post using form:

  • VAT1A if you’re an EU business ‘distance selling’ to the UK
  • VAT1B if you import (‘acquire’) goods worth more than £85,000 from another EU country
  • VAT1C if you’re disposing of assets on which 8th or 13th Directive refunds have been claimed

When you receive your VAT number from HMRC, you can sign up for a VAT online account (select option ‘VAT submit returns’).

Getting your certificate

You should get a VAT registration certificate within 14 working days, though it can take longer.

It’s sent either:

  • to your VAT online account
  • by post - if an agent registers you or you can’t register online

What you need to know

You need to provide details like your turnover, business activity and bank details.

Your registration date is known as your ‘effective date of registration’. You’ll have to pay HMRC any VAT due from this date.

You don’t need to authorise an agent to register you for VAT.