A VAT registration number is a unique identifier given to businesses within the European Union. If a business is selling non-VAT exempt goods or services and makes over £68,000 per annum in sales, it is required to register for VAT. However, it is still helpful for smaller businesses to register. Registration can be done either online or by posting the application to HMRC. Form VAT1 is the hard copy form used to apply for a VAT number.
Postal VAT Registration
Obtain a copy of form VAT1 by going to the HMRC website (see the Resources section) or contacting HMRC's VAT & Excise Helpline at 0845 010 9000.
For basic VAT registration, fill in form VAT1 only. If you are registering a partnership, you will also need form VAT2. In the event that you are taking over an existing business, form VAT68 will also be needed. You may contact the VAT & Excise Helpline to determine which forms you may need, or review the guidance notes for the form (see the Resources section).
Post the form and any supporting documents to:
HM Revenue & Customs
62-70 Tettenhall Road
Wolverhampton WV1 4TZ
Processing times for VAT applications are typically around one month, but it can take up to six months to be approved.
Continue accounting for VAT from the date the business was required to start collecting it or the date of voluntary registration. However, until the VAT number is issued, you may not itemize the VAT. HMRC's website recommends increasing your costs until the application is approved.
Online VAT Registration
Go to the HMRC online services portal. If you are a first time applicant, you will need to create a new user ID. You will be issued a PIN which will be mailed to you in approximately one week. This PIN is necessary to register for VAT.
Fill in and submit the online VAT application. It is similar to form VAT1. The form will also direct you to fill in any other necessary information, similar to that of additional forms.
Once your VAT application has been submitted, continue as with a postal application account for VAT, but do not itemize it. Online VAT applications take the same length of time to process as postal applications.