The Digital Shift: HMRC Phases Out Paper VAT1 Forms

HMRC is taking a significant step towards digital transformation. Starting from mid-November 2023, the traditional paper VAT1 form, which businesses use to apply for VAT registration, will undergo a change ...

This move is in line with the increasing trend of businesses opting for online methods, with over 95% of them, or their representatives, already utilising HMRC's online VAT Registration Service (VRS).

"HMRC's objective behind this transition is two fold!"

Firstly, it aims to expedite the processing times for VAT registration applications. Secondly, it seeks to encourage more businesses to adopt the online VRS, thereby phasing out the paper VAT1 form from the website by November 2023.

However, it's essential to note that not all businesses can make this digital leap immediately. Certain businesses, including those exempt from online applications, will still need to use the paper VAT1 form.

In such cases, businesses, or their agents, will have to reach out to the VAT helpline to request it. HMRC will not mandate an upfront exemption, but will inquire about the reasons for opting for a paper-based option.

Moreover, specific registration types cannot utilise the VRS. While a comprehensive list detailing these businesses is yet to be released, it's understood that this includes businesses applying for a 'registration exception', those joining the agricultural flat rate scheme, overseas partnerships, and entities without a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), excluding UK partnerships or non-established taxable persons.

"These businesses should contact the VAT helpline to procure a paper form!"

HMRC is diligently working to integrate these unique business types into its online VRS. Once this integration is complete, the paper registration form will become obsolete for these businesses as well.

This move by HMRC is a testament to the growing digitalisation of tax-related processes in the UK. While the transition might pose challenges for some, I feel that it's a progressive step towards a more efficient and streamlined VAT registration process.

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