Overview ― registering for VAT

Produced by Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Overview ― registering for VAT
  • Persons who are entitled to register for VAT
  • Who cannot VAT register
  • Entity to be registered
  • Sole proprietors (individuals)
  • Partnerships
  • Racehorse owners
  • Clubs and associations
  • Taxi firms
  • VAT group and divisional registration
  • More...

Overview ― registering for VAT

This guidance note provides an overview regarding when the business should register for UK VAT. This note should be read in conjunction with the VAT registration procedure and VAT registration ― artificial separation of business activities guidance notes. See also Flowchart ― when must or can a business VAT register?.

Persons who are entitled to register for VAT

The following organisations can VAT register if they make relevant supplies:

  1. sole proprietor (individual)

  2. partnership (including a limited liability partnership)

  3. corporate body (including the representative member of a VAT group)

  4. club

  5. association

  6. charity

  7. other types of organisations or groups of people acting together, such as educational or health institutions, organisers of exhibitions / conferences, etc

  8. local authorities, government departments, the Crown

  9. overseas businesses making taxable supplies in the UK

  10. branches and representative offices of overseas businesses

  11. racehorse owners

VATA 1994, Schs 1, 2, 3A; 2006/112/EC, Article 9(1); VATREG02000

Who cannot VAT register

The following cannot VAT register:

  1. organisations that only make exempt supplies. Please see the Exemption ― overview ― items that are exempt from VAT guidance note for more information

  2. organisations or persons who are not deemed to be carrying on a business from a VAT perspective. HMRC defines a business as a ‘continuing activity involving getting paid for providing goods or services in money or another form of payment in-kind or barter’. To constitute a business, it is necessary for these activities to have a degree of frequency and scale, and be continued over a period of time. It should be noted that even if the activities undertaken have some or all the characteristics of a business, they may not be a business for VAT purposes if they are essentially a recreation or hobby, or an isolated transaction. Therefore, if the person makes occasional taxable supplies or the supplies are minimal, it is unlikely that the business will be required to VAT register. Please see the General principles of VAT guidance note for more information


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