The VAT certification is an important document for any VAT registered business to keep on hand. It demonstrates your right to charge VAT on sales where necessary and contains all the key VAT details that your customers or suppliers may need to know.
But what if you lose your VAT certification? Or never receive a copy in the post? In this article we will explain how to view your VAT certificate online in 4 simple steps.
What Is A VAT Certificate
When you register your business for VAT, HMRC will send you a VAT certification that details:
- Your businesses VAT number
- The businesses name
- Details of when to submit the first return and payment
- An effective date of registration (this is the date from which VAT needs to be charged on vatable sales)
Viewing Your VAT Certification Online
Whether you’ve lost the original VAT certification that HMRC sent you or just want to know for future reference. A copy of the VAT certificate can be found online. You’ll just need to follow these 4 simple steps:
- Login to the government gateway portal – you’ll need the username and password you created when setting up the portal
- Select “view your VAT account” – the option to view your VAT account can be found on the first page of the government gateway after logging in. You may need to scroll down the page in order to find the link
- Select “view your VAT certificate” – Once you are in your VAT account you will find a link to view your VAT certificate under the manage your VAT heading. Follow this link to view a copy of your VAT certificate
- Choose from view, save or print – All three options are available via the portal. Simply click the option that you need and proceed
Charging VAT Without A VAT Number
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Do I Need To Display My VAT Certification?
Although there is no specific requirement to display a copy of the VAT certificate in your place of business (after all many of our ecommerce clients don’t have a real place of business that is accessible to the public). You should ensure that the VAT number is clearly displayed on any invoices or receipts that are given to customers.
There are also some requirements for how VAT invoices need to be made up which are determined by HMRC and your business will need to bare these in mind.
When Will The VAT Certificate Be Available?
If you have recently registered for VAT then you may be desperate to know know your registration details as soon as possible. Most certificates become available within 30 days although it can take longer than this at times. How you receive the certificate usually depends on how you made the application.
- Where you made the application online yourself a copy is usually sent to your government gateway account so you can retrieve it online using the 4 steps shown above
- Where an agent made an application on your behalf or you were not able to apply online HMRC will usually send a copy of the certificate in the post to your registered office
The copy of the VAT certificate is available online via the portal the instant your business registration has been processed by HMRC. This means that if you keep checking the portal daily then you may be able to retrieve and print a copy a day or so before the original certificate arrives in the post.
Can HMRC Send A Copy In The Post?
Of course HMRC can access copies of your VAT certificate on request but in the interest of efficiency and “making tax digital” they will always try to help you access the certificate online yourself. If this proves to be impossible for your business then they can send a paper copy in the post.
There are some changes happening to VAT in 2021 that will impact our ecommerce clients in particular. You can learn more about these changes in our article huge ecommerce VAT changes in 2021.