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No more paper forms for VAT registration

HMRC is ending the use of paper forms to register for VAT from mid-November, pushing the service online by default

In future, all VAT registrations will have to be submitted online unless the taxpayer has a particular exemption.

Anyone who requires a paper form will have to contact HMRC by phone to request a form which will then be posted to them for completion. Paper applications take up to 40 days to process.

From mid-November, taxpayers will have to register for VAT through the online VAT Registration Service using their Government Gateway account.

However, some types of business will not be able to use the service.

ICAEW tax faculty warned: ‘There are specific types of registration that cannot use the VAT registration service. A complete list of businesses this applies to is not currently available.’

The following businesses cannot use the service:

  • businesses applying for a ‘registration exception’;
  • businesses joining the agricultural flat rate scheme;
  • overseas partnerships; and
  • entities (other than UK partnerships or non-established taxable persons) without a unique tax reference (UTR) number.

HMRC has said that it is addressing the missing services and is trying to develop adequate software.

Over 95% of taxpayers use the VAT Registration Service, HMRC said, adding that it was ‘the quickest, most secure, and easiest way to register’. 

The move is part of HMRC’s plan to move all tax transactions online to cut costs and reduce reliance on call centre advisers.

HMRC told stakeholders: ‘Supporting our customers is a priority for us and online applications for VAT registrations aligns with our ambition to increase the use of digital channels. 

‘For customers that are unable to access and use our digital channels, we’ll always provide a service to meet their needs. We continue to offer support through non digital channels such as via telephone, including our needs extra support service.’

Taxpayers will have to ask for a VAT1 form by calling the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700 and they will have to justify why they are unable to register online.

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