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How to enrol for online VAT services

HMRC aren’t renowned for having the most intuitive, easy to use systems. We typically do the actual VAT registration process for clients, but we then need them to enrol for online VAT services. The fact this blog post has almost a dozen screen prints to show you the steps to take demonstrates this isn’t overly easy. HMRC do regularly change the portal, so the below may not exactly match what you see, but hopefully where they’re not an exact match it will still help you choose the appropriate options.

One thing to stress – if you/your accountant has literally just had the message confirming successful VAT registration, be aware it’ll likely be at least a couple of working days before the details will be accepted in the final step. For whatever reason HMRC are able to give you VAT details a couple of days before they’ve fully filtered through their own systems. If you try too early, the details will be rejected even if perfectly accurate. Try again a few days later.

You need to start from

Assuming this is the first time you’ve landed on that page, you’ll want the “Create sign in details” option. It will then ask for a few basic details and for you to verify an email address.

If it’s VAT you’re enrolling for, then it’ll almost certainly be “Organisation” you want here.

Should take you to this page. Fairly self explanatory, fill in some details for yourself, choose a password, and continue.

Next page includes your user ID. Ensure you jot this down somewhere (you should be emailed it too…but it’s important!)

Again, we’re assuming here you haven’t done any of this before, in which case “No” you haven’t already used a business tax account for your taxes.

Again, for this purpose we’ll assume it’s VAT you’re enrolling for. Of course you can do other taxes, but typically VAT’s an important one if you want to be able to submit your own VAT returns (either via the HMRC portal directly, or via third party software like FreeAgent).

Here you need to be a bit more specific…at this stage it’s just normal “VAT” that we want.

As you’re doing this following you/your accountant successfully registering for VAT, yes you should have a VAT registration number.

Enter the 9 digit VAT registration number (without spaces, sometimes HMRC will show it in the format 123 4567 89, but you should just enter as 123456789)

Again hopefully you have all these details to hand. The bottom two boxes should just be “N/A” and “0” respectively.

All being well you’ll end on a page like this, and you’re good to go!

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