Article:How to register for Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT – why do you need to register; how much do you pay and how often? 

We have prepared a short guide to help as most businesses can register online, including Partnerships and a group of companies under one VAT number. 

Registering for VAT is something your accountant can help you with, but it is also something you can do for yourself online or by post.  

To register you need the following:  

  • Your National Insurance number (NI)  
  • Certificate of Incorporation/Incorporation details  
  • Details of all associated businesses within the last two years  
  • Business bank account details  
  • If the business has been transferred or acquired, details of the process  

To be able to access the VAT services online, you must register first for HMRC Online Services or through the Government Gateway, then visit the HMRC’s link.   

It is possible to reclaim VAT paid on certain purchases before you registered, but there is a time limit backdate such as 4 years for goods you still have or goods used to make other goods that you still have, or 6 months for services. The reclaimed VAT process will ask for invoices and receipts, details of the purchase, and how it relates to your business. The reclaimed VAT should be done on the first VAT return.  

You cannot charge or show VAT in your business’ invoice until you have received your VAT number, although you will still pay VAT to HMRC through this previous period. Once you have received your VAT registration number, you must start charging the right amount of VAT and tell customers why the increase, pay VAT to HMRC and submit VAT returns and keep all VAT records plus a VAT Account.  

Henry Ejdelbaum, MD, comments “Often businesses and individuals think registering for VAT and paying tax is unnecessary, but the reality is that the benefits of registering may be better than the disadvantages. Each financial situation is different and must be assessed individually, but certainly there are some benefits by doing so. This is where your accountant can influence and help diminish your costs.” 

For more detailed information, your local AIMS accountant is able help. 


Johan Da Silva 

AIMS Accountants for Business 

020 7616 6634 

Notes to editors: 

About AIMS Accountants for Business 

Established in 1992 to provide SMEs a fixed fee service, free of any obligations, through franchised accountancy practices. For nearly 30 years our success has been driven by our singular client focus, our proven management systems and the ongoing support and training provided to all AIMS franchisees. 

By doing more than just crunching numbers, by providing business advice and creating a solid relationship with our clients, we provide the services that has seen us become the only nationwide network of qualified accountants in the UK.