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Is it possible to find out if a company is VAT registered?

Is it possible to find out if a company is VAT...

We have been asked to prepare the first accounts for a new company. The directors think that it is VAT registered and that the registration was done by the accountant who has prepared (what are being called) the "managment accounts" and that accountant is failing to provide information.

But the VAT recoverable balance has been increasing each month for about nine months and that suggest to me that they are not registered.

Can we look them up anywhere to establish whether or not they are registered?

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By Anonymous
10th Nov 2009 16:10

VAT number
I think you probably know the answer is they aren't VAT registered.

Surely your new client has a VAT number if they are registered otherwise what have they been doing with invoicing. The VAT returns would have been sent to your client to complete.

If you have VAT number you can check it is valid on the Europa website but I doubt this is going to be of much use.

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By Anonymous
10th Nov 2009 16:10

No

There is no online database to the best of my knowledge.  Data Protection Act and all that.

You could call HMRC and ask to confirm whether the business is VAT registered or not, they'll probably tell you that much.  Any more detail and they'll require a 64-8.  if you give them company name and ask to confirm they'll let you know I am sure.

Hmmm. Directors don't know whether they are VAT registered or not?.  Surely they should know something as important as this?

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By Anonymous
10th Nov 2009 16:19

What do their invoices say?

You could ask to have a look at their sales invoices and see if they charge VAT (and to be compliant, those invoices need to show the VAT Number). 

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By Anonymous
10th Nov 2009 16:25

VAT registration

If the company has prepared what appear to be VAT invoices, check the VAT number is valid on the Europa website. If they haven't prepared VAT invoices and don't know their VAT number, then it suggests that the company has not registered yet. 

Unless the company has to register immediately or there is a significant cashflow advantage from early voluntary registration, it can be cheaper to wait a few months .

You might like to try printing off a VAT 1 form and seeing if your clients remember signing one.

Cynicism is odious but I have to admit that "I'm sure my last accountant did this" often translates as "I know I haven't done it and now I'm worried" .

 

 

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By Anonymous
11th Nov 2009 00:59

for goodness sake

this is just ridiculous.

1.   is your client issuing sales invoices showing vat on them?   Yes or no.  If no, go back to square one.  If yes, go to question 2.

2.   do the vat invoices show a vat registration number?   Yes or no.  If no, go back to square one.  If yes, go to question 3.

3.  phone vat office or helpline to say you have received a vat invoice with this number on it and are just checking to see if it is kosher.   HMRC are required to answer you.  (all companies trying to recover input vat on invoices are supposed to do this ;  in practice of course, most do not.  But the facility has to be there to enable folk to see if they are being provided with kosher vat inputs).  If HMRC say yes, you have your answer, and you need investigate.  If HMRC say no, you have your answer, and you need investigate.

End of.  

At least that way you know the answer to the question "is my client vat registered" !!!!.  Which indeed needs a very rapid answer.   How many questions you are then left with is another matter altogether.

The whole thing sounds a total shambles.  And I'm afraid you do not present  a great case for making it sound as if you are necessarily the person to clear it up.  Sorry, that's not meant as a gratuitous snipe, just an objective comment.

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By Anonymous
11th Nov 2009 09:16

For goodness sake this is ridiculus

Why do you [edited by community manager] assume that I am a complete idiot? Why don't you read the question properly? [edited by community manager]

 The clue is in the bit that says the accountant (who also happens to be a director) is failing to provide information. Why do you assume that if I had the various documents I would not have looked at the VAT registration certificate and seen the answer to the question? Why do you assume that if I had copies of the sales invoices I would not have looked on them for the VAT registration number? Why do you assume that if I had a VAT registration number I would not have phoned the VAT office to confirm it? I ask a perfectly straightforward question (read the last sentence of the post) and you make ludicrous assumptions about my professional competence. And finally, I don’t use AccountingWeb to make a case for being asked to do work for a client. I use it to ask straightforward questions in the expectation that I will get sensible and helpful answers, and to be fair that is mostly what I get.

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By Anonymous
11th Nov 2009 14:06

Jumping to conclusions?

It's a bit unfair to accuse people of not reading the question properly when you seem to have summarised it so succinctly that much of the relevant information has been squeezed out!

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11th Nov 2009 14:14

Blimey !

No wonder you're 'Anonymous' !

Good luck in getting an answer !!

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11th Nov 2009 14:28

Not summarised enough

"It's a bit unfair to accuse people of not reading the question properly when you seem to have summarised it so succinctly..."

My sympathies are with the OP. Straightforward question which no one seems to want to answer. The OP made the mistake of adding some backgorund info - should have left that out. He/she should just have posted the final sentence.

OP fell straight into the hands of the "Call yourself an accountant" brigade who often seem to delight in decrying a post without answering the question.

 

 

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By neileg
11th Nov 2009 14:42

More constructive
If I read this correctly, the accountant is a director of this company. He sounds as if he is in breach of his fiduciary duty to the company and the shareholders have a possibility of pursuing the individual legally.

However, it's likely that there are complications - perhaps conflicts between the directors/shareholders of the company.

If it was me, I would be sceptical about accepting the company as a client unless there are very good reasons for doing so. This is likely to be first of many problems you will have to deal with.

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By nobbie
11th Nov 2009 14:52

why are you dealing

with this client at all? 

From the further information you provide , there is an accountant director who won't provide you with the most basic information that you could possibly want.   Your OP says "the directors think it is vat registered", and you remain unsure.   Yet when a poster gives you simple practical steps, you pick out stuff in his/her post you don't like.  That's your perogative, but he/she did winkle out from you pretty alarming extra information. 

There are always difficult clients, but this seems bizarre ; the director accountant refuses to give you basic internal docs to help you help them, so you have to start sleuthing?  Good luck, but no idea why you would deal with such a client.

I don't think the earlier poster's "shambles" is an unkind or inappropriate word to describe the position you present.

(edit - cross posted with previous person, hence duplication.  The same sentiments appear to have occurred to us both)

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11th Nov 2009 15:58

Sympathies
"My sympathies are with the OP. Straightforward question which no one seems to want to answer. The OP made the mistake of adding some backgorund info - should have left that out. He/she should just have posted the final sentence.

OP fell straight into the hands of the "Call yourself an accountant" brigade who often seem to delight in decrying a post without answering the question."

No one seems to want to answer apart from the first two posters he fell 'straight into the hands of', who've said pretty much all there is to say, if the company don't know then no one else will tell you, unless you can get hold of some documentation.

HMRC can't tell you and there's no other website, unless you just google the company name and 'VAT' and see what that gets you.

My sympathies too are with the OP - imagine trying to deal with a client who by the sound of things can only tell you their company name and nothing else!

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By Anonymous
11th Nov 2009 18:14

Dear OP

This is a blog.   It is not a subscription help-line.  So everyone will get comments they like and agree with, and everyone will get comments they don't like and don't agree with. 

If you want a help-line that gives you exactly what you want, good luck.  But I doubt it is going to be free.  And I doubt it is going to be found on a public blog.

Taking your own statements, you are in a position which is simply unacceptable.  Perhaps you are well aware of that - we don't know, because you don't tell us.

Your direct query has received several answers,  so I'm puzzled by the respondent who thinks otherwise.  I agree with those who consider the answer to your query to be the least of your problems.

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04th Oct 2016 19:00

VAT number lookup is available at:
http://vat-search.co.uk/

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By DJKL
Taxfactor
05th Oct 2016 10:23

Taxfactor wrote:

VAT number lookup is available at:
http://vat-search.co.uk/

Really useful website, thanks.

Have saved the link you provided to favourites, this will be really handy when checking prospective commercial tenants and other parties we deal with, much appreciated.

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Taxfactor
05th Oct 2016 12:14

Wow, very useful thank you; although I didn't realise HMRC released that much information.

Really interesting to see the VAT registered businesses locally and potentially a way of creating a mailing list.

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