VAT Registration and Deregistration in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Value Added Tax (VAT) registration is a crucial step for businesses operating in the United Kingdom. It enables them to charge VAT on sales, claim input tax on purchases, and comply with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regulations. Conversely, businesses that no longer meet the VAT registration requirements may need to consider VAT deregistration. This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step explanation of the VAT registration and deregistration processes in the UK, ensuring businesses understand their obligations and make informed decisions.

  1. VAT Registration Thresholds

The first consideration for businesses is whether they meet the VAT registration threshold. The registration threshold sets the turnover limit beyond which a business becomes liable for VAT registration. As of the current threshold, businesses with annual taxable turnover exceeding £85,000 must register for VAT.

It is important to note that taxable turnover includes the total value of VAT-able supplies made in the UK, excluding VAT itself. If a business’s turnover is expected to exceed the threshold within a 30-day period, it is required to register for VAT.

  1. Mandatory VAT Registration

Once a business’s taxable turnover exceeds the registration threshold, VAT registration becomes mandatory. The process typically begins by completing an application form, known as VAT1, which is available on the HMRC website. The form requires details about the business, including its legal structure, trading name, contact information, and anticipated turnover.

Along with the application form, businesses are required to provide supporting documents, such as bank statements, previous VAT returns (if applicable), and incorporation documents. These documents help establish the business’s legitimacy and provide the necessary information for HMRC to process the application.

  1. Voluntary VAT Registration

While VAT registration is mandatory for businesses that meet the threshold, there are instances where businesses with turnover below the threshold may choose to voluntarily register. Voluntary registration can be beneficial for businesses that want to reclaim VAT on their purchases or improve their professional image.

Businesses considering voluntary VAT registration should carefully evaluate the implications. It may result in increased administrative responsibilities, including regular VAT return filings and compliance with VAT rules and regulations. Additionally, voluntary registration may affect pricing strategies, as the business will need to account for VAT in their sales prices.

  1. VAT Registration Application and Approval

Once the VAT registration application is completed and the supporting documents are gathered, businesses must submit the application to HMRC. This can be done either online or by mail. Online registration offers a faster and more streamlined process, allowing businesses to receive their VAT registration number promptly.

Upon successful registration, HMRC issues a VAT registration number, which is unique to the business. This number must be displayed on all invoices, receipts, and other relevant documents issued by the business.

  1. VAT Deregistration

VAT deregistration is necessary for businesses that no longer meet the requirements for VAT registration. There are several scenarios that may trigger VAT deregistration, such as a decrease in taxable turnover, business closure, or a change in legal structure. The current deregistration threshold stands at £83,000.

To apply for VAT deregistration, businesses must complete the appropriate form, known as VAT7, available on the HMRC website. It is essential to consider the implications of deregistration, as it may impact the business’s ability to reclaim input tax and affect future business activities.


VAT registration and deregistration are vital processes for businesses operating in the UK. This step-by-step guide has provided a comprehensive overview of the VAT registration and deregistration processes, including thresholds, application procedures, and important considerations. By understanding these processes and adhering to HMRC regulations, businesses can navigate VAT requirements with confidence and ensure compliance with their VAT obligations.

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