Currently, most businesses have a choice about whether to apply for VAT registration online through the VAT Registration Service (VRS) or by post. HMRC provides instructions and a downloadable and printable form for those wanting to apply by post.

However, from 13 November, anyone who is able use the VRS to apply online will have to do so. The paper form VAT1 will still be available to those who are exempt but they will have to call the VAT helpline to request a paper form. HMRC may ask why a paper form is needed.

There are also specific types of registration that cannot yet use the VRS. A complete list of businesses this applies to is not currently available from HMRC, but this is expected to include (but may not be limited to):

  • businesses applying for a ‘registration exception
  • businesses joining the agricultural flat rate scheme
  • overseas partnerships
  • entities (other than UK partnerships or non-established taxable persons) without a Unique Tax Reference

We understand that HMRC is working on changes to the VRS to enable more of these excluded businesses to use it.