How to find your VAT certificate

How to find your VAT certificate

A VAT certificate is a crucially important document if you run a VAT-registered business, as it contains essential information about your business’s VAT status. Whether you’ve lost your copy or just need to double-check your details, don’t panic - it’s easy to get the information you need from HMRC. Read on to find out how to access that all-important VAT certificate online.

What is a VAT certificate?

A VAT certificate is a document that HMRC provides to confirm that your business is officially registered for VAT

A VAT certificate includes:

  • Your business’s unique VAT number
  • The effective date of registration (the date from which VAT needs to be charged on VATable sales)
  • Details of when to submit your business’s first VAT return and payment

Your business will need to display its VAT number on any invoices where VAT is being charged, so that your customers can see that your business is an official collector of VAT and is registered with HMRC. 

How to view your VAT certificate online 

If you can’t find your VAT certificate, don’t worry. Whether you’ve misplaced your original certificate or just want to check that the details you have are correct, you can easily access your VAT certificate online and save or print a copy. 

1. Log in to Government Gateway

You’ll need the username and password you created when setting up your Government Gateway account.

2. Select ‘View your VAT account’

You’ll see this on the first page of the Government Gateway after login. 

3. Select ‘View VAT certificate’ 

You’ll then see your VAT details displayed, and you can select ‘Print certificate’ to print a copy or download it as a PDF file.

Don’t have a VAT certificate yet? Here’s how to register

First, take a look at our guide to VAT registration and confirm whether you need to register your business for VAT. You must register if your annual VATable sales are more than £85,000, but you can register voluntarily if your turnover is less than this.

Most businesses can register for VAT online. You’ll need a Government Gateway account to get started. Check out HMRC’s website for their full guide to registering your business for VAT.

When will your VAT certificate arrive?

According to HMRC, most VAT certificates arrive within 30 working days. A copy is usually sent to your Government Gateway account, where you can access it using the three-step process outlined above. 

If your accountant made your application on your behalf, HMRC will send a copy of the certificate in the post to your registered office address. A copy of the VAT certificate will also be available online as soon as your registration has been processed by HMRC. 

Recording your VAT certificate in FreeAgent

If you’re setting up your FreeAgent account, you’ll ideally have your VAT certificate to hand, so that you can enter the required details. However, if you’ve only recently registered for VAT and don’t have your certificate yet, you can follow these steps in the meantime.

Ready to start making your invoicing and VAT feel a whole lot easier? Try a 30-day free trial of FreeAgent’s award-winning accounting software.

Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.

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