Companies and partnerships have been able to use the HMRC online service to register for VAT using their government gateway account since late 2020. If the business has been newly formed and doesn’t have a Government Gateway ID they need to set that up first.
Until recently this online registration service has not been available to sole traders, but it should be extended to all unincorporated businesses by the end of 2021. Tax agents will also be able to use this online registration service to register their clients for VAT from a date in early 2022.
Unfortunately, during this dual-system period, when an agent submits a paper VAT registration form, the client has received this odd missive from this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org -
Subject: Transaction with HMRC reference XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Re transaction XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in respect of VAT, please log on to the HMRC portal and access the communications area to check new information about this transaction. Use the same user id and password as you used to create the transaction.
This causes great confusion for clients who may not even have a user ID. HMRC has confirmed that this confusing messaging will be resolved as part of the roll out of the new VAT registration service to agents.
The VAT registration number is still sent to the client in a letter.
The online VAT registration process is much quicker than the paper VAT1 form, and it has been known for a VAT number to be issued with a few days using this system.
Written by the Tax Advice Network