How to Register for VAT Online

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to register for VAT online, explain what happens at each stage of the process and what you need to do next. It’ll help whether you are voluntarily registering, your business is growing so you are expecting to cross the threshold or you’re an agent doing it on someone’s behalf.

Not sure whether you need to register for VAT? Read this guide which explains more about VAT thresholds and registration requirements.

How to Register for VAT Online

Before you start applying for VAT, it’ll help to have the following information ready:

If You’re Self-Employed

  • Full name and date of birth
  • National insurance number or UTR number of the person registering
    for VAT 
  • Contact details and those of the business
  • The estimated value of the taxable turnover for the next 12 months (find out how to calculate that in this guide)
  • Details of all associated businesses within the last 2 years

If You Are a Limited Company

  • Company Registration Number (CRN) 
  • Date of incorporation
  • National insurance number of the director who is registering the business for VAT 
  • Contact details and those of the business
  • The estimated value of the taxable turnover for the next 12 months (find out how to calculate that in this guide)
  • Details of all associated businesses within the last two years

You’ll then need to complete the following steps:

  1. Visit the HMRC website and login or set up an online account;
  2. Choose the option to add a new tax to your account;
  3. Fill in the required details about your business (see below for more guidance);
  4. Apply for the VAT schemes, if required;
  5. Complete the declaration, submit your form and wait for HMRC to approve your VAT application and issue a Vat Registration Number (VRN).

Read all VAT Guides

Completing Your VAT Registration Form Online

As part of the VAT registration process, you will be asked to provide information about you and your business. Some of the questions will be straight-forward to answer but others may be a bit more confusing so here is some more information on the questions that you may a little guidance on to answer:

Pre-Questionnaire

vat registration process

Before you start your VAT application, there are 6 questions to answer to ensure you are eligible to apply. You’ll need to answer all 6 before you can start registering.

1. Do you need to apply for a VAT registration exception?

If your taxable turnover has only temporarily exceeded the vat registration threshold, then you may be able to avoid registering for VAT with the agreement of HMRC.

2. Are you joining the agricultural flat rate scheme?

People involved in the agricultural industry can apply for VAT slightly differently along with using a specialist VAT scheme.

3. Is your company part of a division?

You’ll need to let HMRC know if your business is part of another business.

4. Are you an EU business distance selling to the UK?

If you are a business based in the EU but not in the UK, registering for VAT under the rules of distance selling, then you’ll need to let HMRC know about this here. You’ll need to apply by post using a VAT1A form instead.

5. Have you acquired goods worth more than £85,000 from another EU company?

You’ll need to register for VAT using a form VAT1B if you answer yes to this question. You’ll need to apply by post using a VAT1B form instead.

6. Have you or are you planning to claim refunds under the 8th or 13th directive?

These directives cover VAT refunds incurred in other EU countries from around the world. You’ll need to apply by post using a VAT1C form.

Reason for VAT Registration

Unless you are registering for VAT voluntarily, there are two main reasons for applying – either you have gone over the VAT limit in the previous 12 months or intend to go over it in the next 30 days.

Choosing a VAT Registration Date

HMRC will automatically suggest the date you should be VAT registered from the information you enter whether you are looking back because you’ve already crossed the VAT threshold or looking forward because you’ll cross the limit in the next 30 days.

Alternatively, or if you are registering voluntarily, you can choose a date in the last 4 years, but that will make all sales VAT-able although you can claim back VAT on purchases too. That could be beneficial if you have been spending on a lot of VAT-able expenses and have low or non-existent sales.

Choose a VAT Scheme

You’ll be able to join VAT schemes that may help with cash flow and reduce administration as part of applying for your VAT number. You can read more about the schemes available in this guide.

VAT Schemes

Next: Completing Your First VAT Return


New Here? Learn how to set up the financial side of your business with these easy to understand guides and resources:

  • Sole Trader or Limited Company? – Download my free calculator to check which business structure would help you to pay less tax;
  • Tax Records and Bookkeeping – Understand what tax records you’ll need to keep and how to set up your own bookkeeping system;
  • Self Employment Taxes Explained – Learn what taxes you’ll pay, how much and when;
  • VAT Guides – From registration to de-registration, VAT schemes and thresholds, these guides will take you through the basics every UK small business owner needs to know;
  • Invoice Template – Free template and step-by-step guide so you can get paid by your clients.
Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.