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9 March 2005

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Registering for VAT


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Customs & Excise have been introducing simpler notices through their website.

They cover such subjects as the Flat Rate Scheme, Cash Accounting, etc. In April there was one addressing the issue of Registration for VAT. I have to say that it was over-simplified, and left major gaps.

My concern is that small businesses may refer to these, and not be aware of the wider issues. There are three main areas of registration (although the leaflet only really mentions two of them);

  1. Registration in the UK in respect of supplies of goods or services. The current registration limit is 58,000, although businesses with lower turnover may register voluntarily.

  2. Registration in the UK in respect of received services (Schedule 5 services), or in respect of goods purchased from other EC Member States (acquisitions). The registration limit for these is also 58,000.

  3. Registration in another EU Member State in respect of goods or services supplied there. This is a growing issue, and there can be a significant cost in registering elsewhere. In one case, I act for a Client registered in Switzerland (non-EU) in respect of services delivered there. In general, everything will attract VAT (unless exempted in some way) and therefore a business is likely to be registered somewhere.

The above is of course pretty basic, but it does highlight the three areas to be aware of.

October 2004

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