Skip to main content
27 November, 2023

HMRC have scrapped paper VAT registrations

27 November, 2023

The new rules came into effect from 13 November as part of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) strategy. 

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 as the online service still needs to be expanded to cover businesses joining the agricultural flat rate scheme, overseas partnerships and entities without a unique tax reference (UTR) number. 

It is important to note that if a taxpayer has a particular exemption, they will have to contact HMRC by phone to request a paper form which will then be posted to them for completion. Paper applications take up to 40 days to process. 

Taxpayers will have to ask for a VAT1 form to get online exemption by calling the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700 and ‘they will have to justify why they are unable to register online’, HMRC said. 

While 95% of firms are already registering for VAT online, the change could be daunting for the 5% that have not completed it this way before. VAT registration in the UK requires highly sensitive information, including the passport details of the legal representative and the trade register. This information could be intercepted if sent by post, and emails can also be hacked easily. By completing the registration through HMRC’s secure online portal, the risk of private information falling into the wrong hands is reduced significantly.’ 

The move is part of HMRC’s plan to move all tax transactions online to cut costs and reduce use of call centre advisers by 30% by the end of 2024.