VAT registration delays

23 Feb 2021

The Business Delivery Team at HMRC have provided an update on VAT registration delays.

We’re currently dealing with a high volume of VAT Registration applications. As a result, we’re processing around 70% of these applications within 30 days and the majority of those cases within 5 working days. We’re prioritising this work and expect to be processing 95% of VAT Registrations within 30 days by the end of March 2021. We are sorry for any delays.

To speed things up we’re contacting some customers where we need additional information to complete their registration and asking them to call us or ask their agent to contact us. We’re also encouraging Agents and Traders to check that all information requested at is included with their application to avoid any further delays. Applications from Agents and customers are all subject to the same checks.

Please use the online VAT Registration service wherever possible. It is generally quicker than applying by paper and can be considerably quicker if the application can be fully processed straightaway.

When submitting your application please check the following to avoid common errors that cause delays:

  • Addresses provided on the application must match the business’s principal place of business;
  • Notification of a trade classification must match up with the work that the business itself carries out;
  • The VAT liability of trading should be correctly identified;
  • Invalid signatory for the application – e.g. for a corporate body it must be a director, company secretary or authorised signatory or an authorised agent;
  • Invalid dates on the application – e.g. does the effective date of registration requested match up to the circumstances that have been outlined for requesting registration elsewhere in the application?;
  • The bank account details provided must be in the name of the taxable person

We are also considering how we can improve the registration process by resolving more cases in real time by telephone and engaging with customers in a different way to gather any further required information. We’ll tell you more about this shortly.