In the United Kingdom, citizens are required to pay a value-added tax (VAT) for which they must register with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC will then approve the registration and send out a VAT registration number and certificate. Citizens can register for the tax in two ways: on paper submitted at the local tax office or online. If you are a UK citizen and are looking to use the latter option, there are a few things you should know.
- Skill level:
Gather all of the following information: your VAT registration number, the postcode of your place of business (if you're an overseas business use the postcode shown on your VAT4 Certificate of Registration), your date of registration for VAT, the final month of the last VAT return you submitted and the 'Box 5' figure from the last VAT return you submitted.
Go to the HMRC website and select the type of registration you are looking for. You can choose between individual, organisation, agent or pension. Accept the Terms and Conditions and create a password and user id. Then, type in the information from the above step and submit.
Wait for your activation PIN to be sent by e-mail or regular mail, whichever you choose. This will usually take no more than seven days. The envelope you will receive by mail will say "Government Gateway." Enter this PIN into the HMRC website and log in with your user id and password. You should be able to file your VAT forms online.
Tips and warnings
- If you have never filed a VAT return before, select N/A for the final month and enter "0" (zero) for the "Box 5" figure.
- If your "Box 5" figure from last year's VAT is negative, enter only the whole number without the minus sign.
- If your business is on the Isle of Man, you'll have to contact the Isle of Man Customs and Excise, to obtain the five pieces of information.
- Your Activation PIN or Code is only valid for 28 days and must be used by then or you will have to start the process over again.
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