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In order to improve customer service and provide a quicker turnaround on Value Added Tax (VAT) registrations, from 13 November 2023, anyone applying to register for VAT should use HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) online VAT Registration Service (VRS).

More than 95 per cent of our customers already use the online service as it is the quickest, most secure, and easiest way to register for VAT.

Like most organisations, and in line with customers’ expectations of a modern tax authority, HMRC is committed to providing more digital options. VRS meets HMRC’s ambition to increase the use of our digital services, including Making Tax Digital (MTD), to make registration quicker and easier and reduce the need for paper forms.

HMRC  know that some customers are unable to access or use digital technology and we will continue to support them. HMRC will continue to provide a service to meet their needs through non-digital channels, including by telephone to our VAT Helpline and our needs extra support service.

Most HMRC customers are digitally able and many report a better experience when using digital channels, accessing their information at a time and place that suits them. Customers can save their online application and complete the missing sections when they have checked for any outstanding information required.

Registering online is also quicker as HMRC receives the application as soon as it is submitted. We still have to check and approve the application, but doing it online usually speeds the registration process with around 50 per cent of customers receiving their VAT number in 7 working days and 80 per cent within the 40-day service standard.

Customers will need a Government Gateway user ID and password to register for VAT and use our online services. If customers do not have these already, they can create a user ID and password when they sign into the Government Gateway for the first time. When registering for VAT, they should have their business’ details to hand and take time to input them correctly. Find out more on the ‘how to register for VAT’ pages on GOV.UK

Agents, such as tax advisory firms and accountants, should continue to use VRS through the Agent Services Account.

Some VAT schemes (for example the Agricultural Flat Rate Scheme) require customers to register for VAT by post. There is no change to these requirements. Search GOV.UK for ‘Register for VAT by post’ to find out more.

Information about registering for VAT is available by searching ‘Register for VAT’ on GOV.UK. Customers can find more information about exemptions from registering for VAT online by searching ‘Making Tax Digital for VAT’ on GOV.UK.  Those needing to complete a paper VAT1 form should call the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700. Customers do not have to apply for an exemption in advance, but we may ask why they wish to apply by post for VAT registration. A Relay UK service is available.

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