Late VAT registrations

If you have to register for VAT but you don't, you will still have to pay the VAT due from the time that you should have registered. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may also charge you a penalty. Your penalty will depend on how much VAT is payable, and how late your registration is.

On this page:

Reminder: when you must register for VAT

You must register for VAT if your turnover of VAT taxable goods and services supplied within the UK for the previous 12 months is more than the current registration threshold of £81,000, or you expect it to go over that figure in the next 30 days alone. There are also various other circumstances where you must register for VAT.

Find more information about when to register for VAT

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If you're late in telling HMRC that you should be VAT-registered

If you do not tell HMRC that you should be registered for VAT at the right time, you will still have to pay all the VAT due from the time that you should have been registered.

This means that you will have to pay HMRC for VAT on your sales from the date you should have been registered, even though you have not charged your customers VAT.

HMRC may also change you a penalty.

You may be charged a late registration penalty and/or a failure to notify penalty if you fail to tell HMRC at the correct time that you should be VAT-registered. In some circumstances you may be charged a civil evasion penalty instead.

See Notice 700/41 - Late registration penalty - for further details

See factsheet CC/ FS11 - Compliance Checks - penalties for failure to notify for further details (PDF 70KB)

See Notice 160 - Compliance checks into indirect tax matters - for further details

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If you don't tell HMRC that you should be VAT-registered

If you do not tell HMRC that you should be registered for VAT at all, you must still pay the VAT due from the time that you should have been registered.

This means that you will have to pay HMRC for VAT on your sales from the date you should have been registered, even though you have not charged your customers VAT.

HMRC may also charge you a penalty.

You may be charged a late registration penalty and/or a failure to notify penalty if you fail to tell HMRC at the correct time that you should be VAT -registered. In some circumstances you may be charged a civil evasion penalty instead.

See Notice 700/41 for further details of the late registration penalty

Find more about penalties for failure to notify in factsheet CC/ FS11 - Compliance checks (PDF 70KB)

Get further details of compliance checks into indirect tax matters in Notice 160

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What to do if you are charged a penalty for late VAT registration

In general, if HMRC has charged you a penalty you must pay it.

If you do not agree that you should be charged a penalty or do not agree the amount of your penalty, you can either ask HMRC to review the decision, or you can appeal to an independent tribunal.

Read more about how to appeal against an HMRC decision

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