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5 Min. Read

What Is VAT Number & How to Find A Business VAT Number?

What Is VAT Number & How to Find A Business VAT Number?

If you’re running a business in the UK, then you’ll certainly be paying taxes. One of the taxes you may come across is VAT. If you think you should be paying VAT, or you need more information about it, keep reading. We’re covering what the VAT number is, and how to find yours if you need it!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What’s VAT?

VAT Registration

VAT Obligations

I’ve Already Registered but Lost My Number

Key Takeaways

What’s VAT?

VAT stands for value-added tax. This tax is applied to taxable supplies being produced in the UK by your business. The tax authorities determine what goods and services require VAT to be applied. If you’re following the relevant tax rules for your business, you may be required to obtain a VAT identification number.

What Is a VAT Identification Number?

A VAT identification number, also known as a VAT number or VATIN, is what the tax authorities assign to your business for VAT purposes. It allows them to easily identify your business when it comes to VAT benefits and liabilities. If your business activities require that you pay VAT, you’ll have to register with HMRC to get a VAT number.

VAT Registration

If your business makes more than £85,000 in taxable transactions, you will be required to register for VAT. You can also register for VAT if you don’t meet the threshold. Registering with a threshold before VAT may come with a number of different benefits. If you’re interested in those, be sure to check our other article!

Once you’ve reached the government threshold, you’ll be required to register for VAT. There are a few ways to do this.

  • Online - Company registration for VAT can be done online in most cases. It’s easy to obtain your initial VAT number this way.
  • Using an Agent - Complex VAT registrations may require assistance from an agent. This agent is typically an accountant that will know the accounting obligations for VAT.
  • By Post - If you’re registering for VAT with an exception or flat rate scheme, you’ll need to register by post.

After you’ve registered using one of the methods above, you’ll receive your registration certificate. This certificate contains your VAT number, which you’ll need to keep handy. It also means that you’re ready to register for an account online. We recommend this, as it makes the process much easier moving forward.

VAT Obligations

When you register for VAT, you’ll have a number of obligations to abide by. This is true for both voluntary and compulsory registrations. From the effective date of registration, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Charge the right amount on VAT invoices
  • Pay any VAT due to HMRC
  • Submit a VAT return when due
  • Keep VAT records and a VAT account

All of these are necessary when you’ve registered for VAT. If you’ve voluntarily registered for VAT, you cannot charge for VAT on invoices until a number has been assigned. After it has been assigned, you’ll be able to charge VAT on future invoices.

I’ve Already Registered but Lost My Number

If you’ve already registered for a VAT number, you may lose track of it after it has been issued. It happens, and it’s understandable. There are ways to find your VAT number (or another business’s VAT number) if you can’t find it.

Check Older Invoices

If you’ve lost your VAT number, check any of your invoices that have gone out. It’s required that your invoices have the number on them if you’re registered for VAT. Similarly, if you’re looking for another business’s VAT number, check any of their invoices. They have to provide it to you when you do business with them.

Call HMRC

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) authority has a phone line for VAT numbers. This helpline is available by phone at 0300 200 3700.

Check Online

In addition to the helpline, there is a website for VAT number validity. The website called the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES), lets users check for UK and EU VAT numbers. This system can be a bit frustrating to use at first, as it's designed to search by VAT number. However, it can be used to locate VAT numbers as well.

Key Takeaways

VAT is a system enforced by HMRC that adds taxes to relevant supplies. If your business reaches a certain threshold, it is compulsory that you register for VAT. However, you can register voluntarily, as well. After registering you’ll be provided with a VAT number. If you lose that number for some reason, there are a number of ways to procure it once again! If you found this helpful, be sure to look for all things VAT on our resource hub!


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