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Accountants report lengthy VAT registration delays

21st Jul 2014
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Several AccountingWEB members have reported lengthy delays in getting some clients VAT registered by HMRC.

Happy Up North and Darren Loring both posted on Any Answers that they have been finding it hard to find out exactly what was happening with their applications. 

Up North applied to register six clients via the online system on 10 June but has heard nothing from HMRC since, he said. While in comparison, Loring submitted an application online on 23 June and also hasn't heard back yet.

Both tried to call HMRC's VAT helpline and/or its registration number, and have either found it engaged or those at the end of the line have been unable to provide them with more information. 

The issue is causing Up North and his clients some concern. “The annoying thing is, I am looking incompetent to clients when HMRC are the one dragging their heels," he wrote.

However the Revenue told AccountingWEB they were not aware of a delay in processing VAT registrations. 

A spokesperson said it can take longer than 10 days, if HMRC needs more information to process the application or carries out additional checks on the application, "as part of the Department’s work to prevent VAT fraud". 

"All applications are checked and risk assessed, and as a result of this work some are selected for more detailed checks. Where an application is selected for additional checks, HMRC notifies the applicant and explains that the checks are normally completed within 12 weeks. Most checks are completed within that time, but that some checks may take longer." 

The spokesperson added that the process may involve contacting the applicant to seek additional information or verify some of the details already provided.

"The aim is to complete these checks and notify the outcome as soon as possible," he added.

Other members responded to the two threads, saying they had had similar issues. Mr Mischief submitted an application in March and received a reply 10 days ago, he said. 

While Countrygirl applied online at the beginning of May and still has no registration number. "I phoned twice to see if they had any queries, and they don't. They couldn't give us an idea of when it will be processed," she said.

However, there were also those on the thread who received approved applications very speedily in comparison, including girlofwight, DMGbus and Maslins, whose time periods ranged from about two to 11 days. 

Some members made suggestions such as Bajones, who told the members to ring 0300 052 3240 which they said may be engaged quite a bit, but if users get through they can determine whether their application has been sent for extra checks.

These checks, the member continues, could mean it takes another four to six weeks before the application is processed.


Replies (2)

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By Avant-Garde54
21st Jul 2014 12:16

vat registration delay

We submitted an online application for Group vat registration for a client on the 5th June and have had nothing back as yet. On my third call I was put through to the registration unit who traced the application but could give me no details of the progress and we were told to call back in a weeks time if we dont hear present we have no idea when the vat number will come through.


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By Gone Sailing
21st Jul 2014 19:46

Here's a good one ......

You know how some online HMRC 'boxes' (fields) will only accept abc and 123, and not £/?,. etc

My client has full stops in the company name.

The name of the company, with full stops was ok for the main 'name of company' box, but the 'name of the company on the bank account' would not accept full stops.

Now it is referred to goodness knows where - and of course because the VAT number hasn't been assigned, we can't do a 64-8, so they won't talk to me, even though I applied on my HMRC account.

And other thing, when are we going to get a VAT agents' helpline? Not that it would be any use in this case.

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