HMRC update on VAT registration service
A new VAT registration process known as the VAT Registration Service or VRS was made available to agents from 1 August 2022. The VRS had been in testing mode for the previous 18 months. It used over 37,000 businesses to successfully register for VAT.
One of the key changes with using the VRS is that every new VAT registered business is automatically signed up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) as part of registration. It is removing the need for that extra step.
How can you access the VAT Registration Service or VRS?
The quickest and easiest way to access the VRS on behalf of your clients is to follow the steps to register for VAT online on GOV.UK. You will use your Agent Services Account (ASA) credentials when signing in. When you use this route. The individual completing the application will be asked to provide their name, phone number and email address. You will soon adding a link within the ASA to make accessing the VRS even easier. It is still possible to access the service if you sign in using your old HMRC Online Services account credentials. There is problem, you have to provide more information to verify your identity. You can check for any service issues or planned downtime for the VAT registration service or VRS on GOV.UK.
What information do you need from your clients to register their business using the VRS?
To complete a VAT registration, you’ll need your client’s:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
- ID, such as their passport or driving licence
- details of turnover and nature of business
- bank account details (or a reason if no bank account details are provided)
- Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number
If instead agents use the VAT registration service available from their older Agent Online Services portal or any other route. The individual completing the application will need to verify their identity with their National Insurance Number, name, and date of birth any follow up questions on the application.
If you’re registering a limited company client. You need a Company Registration Number and a Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) to complete the VAT registration process. Individuals and Partnerships do not need to have a Self-Assessment UTR to register for VAT, but if they do have one, they must supply it.
HMRC recommend you have this information to hand when starting an application. If you are waiting for information from your client. You can save and edit the application for seven days by clicking ‘Save and Exit’. This will soon be increased to 28 days.
Will you be notified of the status of your client’s application?
We recognise there has been a delay in issuing letters to agents. This has now been rectified. Letters about applications will be issued to your address as well as the customer’s principal place of business as provided in the application. This will include a VAT Registration Numbers (VRN) where appropriate.
How do you become an authorised agent for your client?
You can be authorised as an agent for your client once their VRN has been issued. You will need to log in to the ASA and follow the instructions for authorisation.
How do businesses get an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number as part of the registration process?
You will get option to register for an EORI number as part of the VRS application. This information is then sent automatically to the EORI team. They will set up an EORI number and contact your client directly. The EORI number will be supplied separately to the VRN.
How do you register an overseas partnership?
An overseas partnership must be registered by post using the VAT1 form. You can find more information about how to register by post on GOV.UK.
The faculty understands VAT registration applications are, at the time of writing, generally taking around 40 working days to process. There are reports that some applications are taking longer.
Should you need to follow up on an application, you can contact HMRC after 40 working days have elapsed by emailing [email protected] or by calling 0300 322 7870.