We were dismayed to see that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shut down their VAT Registration Hotline as of 22 May 2023. This leaves businesses that have a VAT registration query without a direct HMRC team to communicate with.
Don’t worry, though, there are ways for you to get your VAT queries to HMRC, as we’ll see.
Why close the VAT Registration Helpline?
HMRC has a severe backlog of work at present. Applications are taking a long time to process, queries are not being answered and taxpayers are getting understandably frustrated.
Closing down the VAT Registration Helpline is part of HMRC’s ongoing mission to redress these delays. According to a recent email seen by AccountingWEB, closing down the helpline is intended as a way to free up HMRC staff and process more applications.
HMRC is quoted as saying:
“We recognise that performance across our core service lines still needs some improvement. We’re confident that this approach will help improve our customer service levels by allowing our colleagues to prioritise processing of these applications.”
How can you chase up a VAT registration?
With the VAT Registration Helpline now unavailable to you, how do you chase up a registration or get an answer to your VAT-related queries?
HMRC has suggested using their ‘Where’s my reply’ online tool to check on the status of your application. This online tool allows you to chase up an ongoing VAT application, as well as applications for corporation tax, employers PAYE and other taxes and government subsidies.
The length of time you wait for a response to your query will vary, but HMRC is suggesting that responses could take up to 40 working days. Not exactly an instant response!
How can you ask general VAT questions?
HMRC does have a facility for general VAT-related queries, but to get the best from these options, it’s sensible to have a VAT online account that’s already set up for your business.
To contact HMRC re a VAT query:
- Log in to your VAT online account. Your online account lets you:
- view your payments and outstanding liabilities
- submit your VAT return and view previous returns
- get a duplicate VAT registration certificate
- Talk to HMRC’s Digital Assistant. HMRC has a digital chatbot that can answer basic questions and FAQs relating to your VAT affairs.
- Call HMRC on the phone. Call the HMRC team on 0300 200 3700 (or +44 2920 501 261 if you’re outside the UK). HMRC advises that you should only phone them if the query is urgent. You’ll need to have your postcode, Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme (FHDDS) number and VAT registration number if you need to call. HMRC’s phone line opening hours are:
- Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
- Closed weekends and bank holidays
- Use the HMRC app. HMRC’s official mobile app allows you to look up general information and basic FAQs etc, but won’t be able to answer specific questions.
Talk to us about your VAT queries
As your tax agent, we can answer most of your general VAT queries for you. We can also act on your behalf and contact HMRC to request more specific information.
If you’ve got a VAT-related question or an application query, just drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get you an answer as quickly as possible.
Get in touch to ask your VAT questions.
If you require any information on the above please do not hesitate to contact us.