How to register for VAT as a freelancer

If your career as a freelancer is particularly successful, you may find your turnover of VAT-taxable goods and services crosses the VAT threshold, and you’ll need to register for VAT.

You can register for VAT online. When you register for VAT you’ll be sent a VAT registration certificate that tells you:

  • Your VAT number (you can’t charge VAT until you have this number).
  • Your official date of VAT registration.
  • When you need to submit your first VAT return.

What happens once you’re VAT registered?

Following your official VAT registration date you:

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  • Must charge the right amount of VAT.
  • Must keep VAT records and a VAT account.
  • Can reclaim any VAT you have paid on purchases.
  • Must submit quarterly VAT returns.
  • Must pay any VAT due to HMRC.

If anything changes in your freelance career, for example if you move home, change bank or begin providing a different service, you need to tell HMRC by submitting this form or logging onto your online account.

Flat rate VAT

If your VAT turnover is less than £150,000 you can choose to join the flat rate VAT scheme instead.

If you use an accountant they can explain how VAT works, and complete your VAT registration for you.