Legal conditions

 

VAT online tax registration service

The legal basis for these conditions is in the Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518). The wording in bold is a direction for this purpose having the force of law.

Notes:

The terms ‘notify’, ‘notifying’ or ‘notification’ relate to persons who are:

  • liable to be VAT registered
  • entitled to apply for exemption from VAT registration
  • required to notify a change of details
  • required to request deregistration

The terms ‘apply’, ‘applying’ or ‘application’ relate to persons requesting to:

  • voluntarily register for VAT
  • voluntarily deregister from VAT
  • voluntarily change their VAT details
  • transfer a VAT Registration Number

Conditions:

1 Within the VAT online tax registration service (’the online service’) the terms 'apply', 'applying' and 'application' are used as generic terms for both an 'application' and a 'notification'.

You may use the online service, if you are required to:

  • notify a requirement to register for VAT
  • notify a requirement to deregister from VAT
  • notify changes to your VAT registration details

You may also use the online service to:

  • notify an entitlement to apply for exemption from registering for VAT because you only make or mainly make zero-rated supplies
  • voluntarily register for, or deregister from, VAT
  • make a change to your VAT registration details (where notification is not a requirement)
  • request the transfer of a VAT Registration Number

2 If you choose to make a notification or application specified in paragraph 1 electronically, you must use the online service provided by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for this purpose.

3 To use the online service, you must have a Government Gateway account. If you do not have an account, one will be created for you as part of the registration process.

HMRC reserves the right to deny access to the online service where it is considered necessary to protect the Revenue.

4 The online service must not be used by:

  • persons and organisations requiring ‘Government Department’ registration numbers
  • persons applying or notifying under the supplies from another EU Member state provisions in Schedule 2 to the VAT Act 1994
  • persons applying or notifying under the acquisition provisions in Schedule 3 to the VAT Act 1994
  • persons notifying under the disposal of assets for which a VAT repayment has been claimed provisions in Schedule 3A to the VAT Act 1994
  • persons applying under the VAT on e-services (VoeS) scheme provisions in Schedule 3B to the VAT Act 1994

5 The following categories of registered person must not use the online service to notify changes to their details (or request VAT deregistration):

  • persons and organisations with 'Government Department' registration numbers
  • persons registered under the Agricultural Flat Rate Scheme
  • persons registered under the VoeS scheme

6 Changes to details (including requests for deregistration) can only be made to existing and continuing registrations.

7 Only changes to the following can be notified using the online service:

  • business name/your name (if you are a sole proprietor)
  • trading name
  • Principal Place of Business address
  • contact details
  • bank account details
  • VAT return frequency
  • deregistration from VAT
  • transfer of a VAT Registration Number
  • an entitlement to apply for exemption

Other changes to your VAT details that are not listed above must be made in writing to HMRC whether or not notification is required. See our guide Changes to your business details and your VAT registration for further information on updating your business details.

8 Certain categories of application or notification may require the submission of further details using online PDF forms, attachments and/or paper forms. You will be told on screen when this is required and, where appropriate, you will be directed to download the required form. Alternatively, these can be downloaded from the HMRC website or obtained from our VAT Helpline.

Following a notification, or at the end of the application process, you will receive an online acknowledgment and a unique reference number. The date and time shown in the online acknowledgment will be the date and time at which the application or notification was made for legal purposes. We recommend that you save a copy of this acknowledgment for your records. If you do not receive an electronic acknowledgment, you must presume that your request has not been received.

Following the notification, or at the end of the application process, we may request additional information and/or documentation from you. In such cases, any further communications may be made using the secure customer communications service or in writing by post.

Agents

9 You may ask an agent to submit the electronic application or notification on your behalf using the online service. Any agent completing an electronic application or notification on behalf of a client must provide his or her details as part of the registration process.

Agents cannot notify changes to the Principal Place of Business address or bank account details using the online service.

Submit a return: conditions

These are the conditions for submitting returns electronically. The wording in bold is a direction for this purpose having the force of law.

VAT Returns may be made electronically using only an 'electronic return system' provided for this purpose. Those systems are the ones described on the HMRC website as 'Online VAT Return Service' and 'XML VAT Returns Service'. Government Departments and NHS Trusts must use the 'GIANT Service' to make a VAT Return electronically. VAT Returns submitted electronically using any of these electronic returns systems are legal declarations for VAT purposes.

You must first be authorised to use the service. To get authorisation you need to register for an online account and ‘enrol for VAT’. Follow the link 'New user’ and then follow the on-screen instructions.

An agent may submit an Online VAT Return or an XML VAT Return on behalf of a principal, provided such an agent has been authorised by that principal to use the agents service, as described in the guide 'How to set up client authorisations with HMRC - an introduction'.

Where an Online VAT Return or an XML VAT Return is submitted by an agent on behalf of a principal, legal responsibility for making the return and any payment due remains with the principal. The principal may be liable to a financial penalty if the completed return is inaccurate and/or the return and all of the VAT payable are not received by the dates they are due.

The software package used to submit a return using the XML VAT Return Service must allow the return to be set out and viewed before it is submitted.

The authentication process of both the Online VAT Return Service and the XML VAT Return Service will be by way of pin and password or digital certificate as described for VAT Online on the HMRC website.

If transmission of the VAT Return is successful you will receive an on-screen acknowledgement. You should keep a copy of the acknowledgment for your records. This will show that a return has been submitted. If no electronic acknowledgment is received, you must presume the return has not been received. If an agent submits a VAT Return online on behalf of a principal, the agent will receive the electronic acknowledgment.

Where an XML VAT Return is submitted, as well as an electronic acknowledgment, we will send an email showing errors identified during processing. Any error return must be submitted again.

Any VAT due on a return submitted using the Online VAT Return Service or the XML VAT Return Service must also be paid by an approved electronic payment method.

Only VAT Returns may be submitted using the Online VAT Return Service, XML VAT Return Service or GIANT service.

When you enrol and activate the Online VAT Return Service, or authorise an agent to submit a VAT Return online using the Online VAT Return Service or the XML VAT Return Service on your behalf, you will cease to receive a paper VAT Return. HMRC will send you a reminder by email when your VAT Return is due once you have activated an email address and opted to receive VAT messages for your business. If you don’t opt to receive VAT messages you will not receive any reminder that the VAT Return is due. There are penalties for not declaring and paying VAT due at the correct time. An agent authorised to submit VAT Returns online on behalf of a client will receive the VAT Return reminder for an online VAT Return by email if the agent has activated an email address and opted to receive VAT messages to the agent’s account.

Note

The legal basis for these conditions is in the Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518).

If payment is made by Direct Debit, the BACS rules require the account holder/authorised signatory to view the VAT Return acknowledgment before the collection date for payment.

'Agent' means a third party who is authorised by a principal to submit VAT Returns that the principal is required to make using the Online VAT Return Service or the XML VAT Return Service.

'Principal' means a VAT registered person with legal responsibility for the return and any related payment.

Incentives for making an electronic return and paying VAT due by an approved electronic method: Conditions

These are the conditions under which an incentive is available for making a return electronically and paying VAT due by an approved electronic method. The wording in bold is a direction for this purpose having the force of law.

Additional time may be available for a return and the payment of any VAT due to reach us where the return is made electronically and any VAT due is paid by an approved electronic payment method.

Approved electronic payment methods are:

(i) Bankers Automated Clearing Services (Bacs)

(ii) Bank Giro Credit Transfer

(iii) Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS)

(iv) Card payments

(v) Direct Debit payment

(vi) Online VAT Direct Debit (DD)

(vii) Government Banking Service Payments (GBS) - GIANT Service users only

(viii) Faster Payments

  • Payment by Bacs, Bank Giro Credit Transfer, CHAPS, Card payments, Direct Debit payment or GBS must be in our bank account by the seventh calendar day after the standard due date. If the seventh day falls on a weekend or bank holiday, the payment must reach our bank account by the previous business day.
  • Faster Payments must be in our bank account by the seventh calendar day after the standard due date.
  • Online VAT DD is approved only when the Online VAT Return Service is also used to submit the return.
  • Online VAT DD payments will not be collected for a further three working days after the due date for receipt of the return made using the Online VAT Return Service.
  • The controller of VCU must receive paper VAT Returns by the date the payment is due. Electronic returns must be received by the seventh calendar day after the standard due date.

These incentives do not apply to:

  • a return made on paper for which no payment is required to be made
  • returns under the annual accounting scheme (but where Online VAT DD is used, balancing payments will be collected three working days after the due date of the annual return)
  • returns made by businesses required to make payments on account

If you have appealed against the requirement to submit VAT Returns electronically, or have requested a formal review, you are not required to submit VAT Returns electronically while the issue is being determined.

Notes

The legal basis for these conditions is in the Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518).

Standard due date means the last day of the month next following the end of the period.

For more details about paying electronically see our How to pay VAT due to HM Revenue & Customs guide.

Reverse Charge Sales List (RCSL)

When submitting your RCSL by the specified electronic means you are making a legal declaration. If the electronic submission fails your declaration has not legally been rendered. If you do not submit a declaration containing complete and accurate information by the due date, you may incur financial penalties.

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