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Dev-Bank Wales MBO
11 July 2024

HMRC Launches Digital Tool to Help Businesses Understand VAT


HMRC has launched a digital tool to help businesses estimate what registering for VAT may mean for them.

The VAT Registration Estimator has been developed after feedback from small businesses suggested an online tool would be helpful to show when their turnover could require businesses to register for VAT and its effect on profits.

A business must register for VAT if:

  • Their total VAT taxable turnover for the previous 12 months is more than £90,000 – known as the ‘VAT threshold’. Until 31 March 2024 this was £85,000.
  • They expect their turnover to go over the £90,000 VAT threshold in the next 30 days.
  • They are an overseas business not based in the UK and supply goods or services to the UK (or expect to in the next 30 days) – regardless of VAT taxable turnover.

A VAT-registered business must charge VAT on eligible sales and can usually reclaim it on eligible purchases.  There are around 300,000 new VAT registrations each year.

The estimator can help any business to see what registering for VAT could mean, as well as linking to further information about the registration process. It is also a useful tool for businesses operating below the threshold and considering voluntary registration.

Jonathan Athow, HMRC Director General for Customer Strategy and Tax Design, said:

“We know that the majority of our customers want to get their tax right. We have listened to what businesses have said and the new tool is designed to help them understand VAT registration, including when they might be required to register.

“The VAT Registration Estimator has been developed in partnership with small businesses and trade representatives who tested the online tool and gave feedback before its launch.

“We hope it will support businesses’ understanding of VAT registration, especially when combined with our guidance and other services.”

Kevin Sefton, member of the Administrative Burdens Advisory Board (ABAB), said:

“Businesses need to know before they hit key tax thresholds. Tools and guidance can help them prepare. I’m pleased to see this new VAT registration tool from HMRC that helps a business understand the different types of supplies it makes, and what this means for VAT registration.”

Karen Thomson, Administrative Burdens Advisory Board (ABAB) member, added:

“I volunteered to be a tester for the new VAT tool. I am not a VAT expert so approached the experience as if I were a business with no knowledge of VAT.

“Having made some comments, along with other stakeholders, I have now used the final tool and find it very useful. I like that when you are asked for information there are examples, links to guidance where appropriate and help on completing the boxes.

“A lot of work has gone into this tool, and I believe stakeholder views have been considered, to ensure the customer has the best experience possible.”

How to use the VAT Registration Estimator:

Before you start you will need information to hand about your business income and costs, and the VAT rates that apply to them.

  • Read the information online about what the VAT Registration Estimator tool does and use the links to the guidance for more information.
  • Input whether the business is, or will be, based in the UK.
  • Input your approximate business income and business costs for the time period you wish to estimate, up to 12 months. You can also use this if you are setting up a new business.
  • Use the guidance links provided to choose the VAT rate(s) for your business income and costs – as an estimated percentage of zero, reduced or standard rated, or VAT exempt, goods and services.
  • Then input if you would prefer to add VAT to, or absorb VAT into, your current or estimated selling price.
  • Check your answers and complete the form to review the results, which you can save and print.

You can use the estimator whenever you like, it is free to use, and it should take around 20 minutes to complete on first use. The estimator is accessed through GOV.UK guidance pages, rather than the Government Gateway. HMRC will not record the details that you input.

The VAT Registration Estimator is a guidance tool designed to help you decide if VAT registration is right for your business and allows you to experiment with different inputs and outputs. It cannot provide bespoke business advice.



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