What is a VAT registration number?

When you register with HMRC for VAT (Value Added Tax) you will be given a VAT registration number.

This is a unique identifier that HMRC allocate you or your business and you will need to quote this number on invoices that you raise to you customers and clients.

If you are doing business with overseas suppliers they will also sometimes ask for your VAT number so they can verify you as a business.

In some countries it can also be known as a VAT identification number.

The standard HMRC format is 9 digits which are preceded by a GB (Great Britain).

You can actually verify an EC member state VAT number by heading over to the European Commission VAT number validation tool which allows you to confirm if a client or suppliers VAT number is correct.

You can also verify if a VAT number is correct by calling the HMRC VAT helpline.

VAT Registration Number

After registering for VAT you will have to wait a period of time before HMRC confirm what your VAT registration number is – this could be anything from a couple of days to several weeks (sometimes more if your situation is not simple).

You will have selected an effective VAT registration date during your application process so what you have to be aware of is that if there is a gap between your VAT registration date  and getting your VAT number from HMRC, you still need to charge VAT to your clients (assuming standard rated sales) but you won’t be able to issue them with a VAT invoice until you get your VAT number.

HMRC advise that for that stop-gap period of time you increase your prices as if VAT we’re included and then you can go back and issue VAT invoices to your customers once you get your VAT registration number confirmed by HMRC.