Who should register for VAT?

Overview

This section deals with the rules relating to Value-Added Tax (VAT) registration. It explains who must register for VAT, the VAT thresholds, electing to register for VAT and when you can opt to tax lettings.

Generally, you must register for VAT if you are an accountable person. A person carrying on only exempt activities or non taxable activities may not register for VAT.

Despite this, a person carrying on exempt activities or non taxable activities may be required to register for VAT in certain situations. VAT registration may be required in respect of the acquisition of goods from other European Union (EU) Member States, or services received from abroad.

If you are setting up a business but have not yet commenced supplying taxable goods or services, you may need to register for VAT to reclaim VAT on start up costs. 

Traders whose turnover is below the VAT thresholds, farmers and sea fishers are not generally obliged to register for VAT. They may, however, elect to register for VAT if they wish.

Please see further guidance for registration information in respect of certain student unions, trade protection associations, and gas and oil exploration companies.

Next: What are the VAT thresholds?