From the 13th of November, businesses will need to complete their VAT registration online as part of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) strategy.
With only one week to go until the changes come into effect, Mariana Príncipe, Head of VAT Compliance at Ryan, outlines the benefits and gives advice for firms registering online for the first time.
Three Advantages of Going Digital
There are three key advantages to digital-only VAT registrations that will benefit both HMRC and businesses, including:
Faster turnarounds for VAT numbers – As the digital process will be quicker and can be completed from anywhere, there should be less of a wait for firms to get their VAT numbers.
Reducing the amount of paperwork – Completing the registration online will reduce the administrative burden for firms, as well as its impact on the environment.
More secure process – 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.
Advice for People Registering Online for the First Time
While 95% of firms are already registering for VAT online, next week’s change could be daunting for the 5% that haven’t completed it this way before—but they shouldn’t panic.
HMRC’s online portal is one of the most user friendly in Europe, offering access to videos and webinars that are easy to follow. The tutorials go beyond VAT registration and cover topics like how to pay owed VAT, returns, and how to reclaim VAT, as well as sector-specific advice and access to other relevant forms.
What Could Be Digitalised Next?
HMRC is making fantastic strides on its MTD strategy, especially compared to other European countries. In Spain for example, to perform a VAT registration, it still requires an individual to book a meeting at a tax office and physically bring in the paperwork.
Coming up next, all eyes should be on the Form VAT652. This is the form that you have to complete if you are making a correction to your VAT return. At the moment, you can complete this form online or via a paper form, but I am sure it won’t be long before the paper option will be removed.