HMRC's VAT Registration Helpline to Close
In a shock announcement from HMRC, on 17th May 2023, we learned that they will now be closing the VAT Registration Helpline for good.
What is the VAT Registration Helpline?
This telephone helpline was set up for business owners and their accountants to use to call HMRC with any queries about their VAT registration. For example, this is the line we’d suggest you call if you have registered for VAT, but haven’t yet received your VAT number or relevant registration documents.
When will the VAT Registration Helpline close?
HMRC will close its helpline on Monday 22nd May 2023 – a year before the originally publicised close date of 22nd May 2024. This was only announced on 17th May 2023 – giving businesses owners, accountants and agents just FIVE DAYS to use it. The likelihood is however, that due to this announcement, if you use the line in the next few days you’re going to spend hours on hold waiting. Even before this was announced some of our accountants unfortunately had to spend upwards of an hour on this line waiting to speak to someone to try and get an answer for our clients.
How long does it take to VAT Register?
It could be up-to 40 working days to get your registration certificate – after that time you can use the dedicated HMRC email address to chase it if you still haven’t received anything. Bear in mind that unfortunately, there is very little your accountant can do in this situation, as once the details are with HMRC, we have to wait for their response.
What do I do now the number is closed?
If you are concerned about a VAT registration you have recently made, visit the HMRC website here and follow their instructions to use their online services: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/vat-registration-applications-exceptions-and-changes.
Another thing to remember is to make sure you’re keeping a beady eye out for any other correspondence from HMRC or your accountant. If they have requested more information from you and you haven’t responded, this could delay the registration even further or potentially cancel it altogether!
What’s the knock on effect?
Unfortunately it’s now just a case of sitting tight and waiting for your documents to arrive. If you are concerned there are some online tools you can use to get an answer, or at least a time frame of when the documents will likely be ready. Unfortunately though, if you want to speak to a real life human, you’re out of luck. This move has understandably been met with outrage from business owners and accountants alike given the short time frame. We can only hope that closing the line has the intended effect by freeing up their staff to process the applications more quickly.
We asked our Head of Professional Standards, Steph, what you should do in the meantime
If you have just hit that VAT threshold, have now registered but not received your information, you might be wondering whether you should be putting VAT on your invoices or not. You should increase your pricing in line with VAT but note that the VAT information is to be confirmed. Once your VAT registration is done, then you should reissue the invoices with the relevant VAT number and breakdown. Make sure you keep hold of all of your expense VAT receipts too for your first VAT return. Remember: VAT returns are usually done quarterly so it’s even more important to have someone like Mazuma on your side, helping you keep on top of the paperwork.
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