HMRC aren’t renowned for having the most intuitive, easy to use systems. We typically do the actual VAT registration process for clients, but we then need them to enrol for online VAT services. The fact this blog post has 10 screen prints to show you the steps to take demonstrates this isn’t overly easy. Hopefully the below will be valid for at least a while before HMRC inevitably change things again!
One thing to stress – if you/your accountant has literally just had the message confirming successful VAT registration, be aware it’ll likely be at least a couple of working days before the details will be accepted in the final step. For whatever reason HMRC are able to give you VAT details a couple of days before they’ve fully filtered through their own systems. If you try too early, the details will be rejected even if perfectly accurate. Try again a few days later.
You need to start from https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/login UPDATE – the page has changed a bit, relevant link may instead be “Create sign in details”
Assuming this is the first time you’ve landed on that page, you’ll want the “Don’t have a Government Gateway account” option.
If it’s VAT you’re enrolling for, then it’ll almost certainly be “Organisation” you want here.
Should take you to this page. Fairly self explanatory, fill in some details for yourself, choose a password, and continue.
Next page includes your user ID. Ensure you jot this down somewhere (you should be emailed it too…but it’s important!)
Again, I’m assuming here you haven’t done any of this before, in which case “No” you haven’t already used a business tax account for your taxes.
Again, for this purpose we’ll assume it’s VAT you’re enrolling for. Of course you can do other taxes, but typically VAT’s an important one if you want to be able to submit your own VAT returns (either via the HMRC portal directly, or via third party software like FreeAgent).
Here you need to be a bit more specific…at this stage it’s just normal “VAT” that we want.
You may note the styling changes quite a bit here, as it reverts to HMRC’s more old fashioned styling. UPDATE – apparently this is no longer the case, so styling will continue similar to the above. Text should follow as per screen prints below. If your accountant has already done the VAT registration, then you want the bottom option. Ie you’re not trying to register for VAT all over again, you’re just trying to be able to do VAT related things for your existing VAT registration online.
This is perhaps the most daft part of the whole thing…but you once again need to tell HMRC that it’s VAT that you’re enrolling for. Don’t ask me why. Scroll down past lots of taxes (in alphabetical order), and again it’s the one just called “VAT” that you want here, with “Enrol for service” to the right.
Nearly there now, this is the page we were aiming for! Hopefully you’ll be able to answer the first three questions from info HMRC provided following the processing of the VAT registration. The bottom two ones will virtually always be “N/A” and “0.00”, because at this early stage your company hasn’t submitted a VAT return.
Following that you should just get a confirmation page. If the data is rejected, double check what you’ve entered for possible typos, or revert to your accountant.
Once this is done, you should immediately be able to submit a VAT return online. However you’ll need to wait perhaps a week for an activation code to be able to do more quirky things like change your company’s VAT details.