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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Q&A: VAT registration

Most common questions and answers on VAT registration. Your business may be required to register for VAT if it meets certain criteria. It can also be beneficial for some businesses to register for VAT even if they are not required to. Kate Fisher of CJ Fisher & Co explains the circumstances under which your business should be VAT registered

When do I need to register for VAT?

A business must register to pay VAT when the value of its VAT taxable turnover (total value of sales that aren't exempt from VAT) in the previous 12 months or less exceeds the registration threshold  of £85,000 per annum. You must also register if at any time you expect the value of your VAT taxable turnover in the next 30 days alone to exceed the registration threshold. 

Would it be beneficial to register for VAT if my turnover is below the threshold?

Yes, if you make all or the overwhelming majority of your sales to VAT-registered businesses, because you will be able to reclaim VAT on any business expenses you incur. 'Voluntary registration' is the term given to becoming VAT registered even though your turnover is below the registration threshold.

What does the VAT registration process involve?

You will need to complete a VAT application form, which is available from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This should be completed online, unless you meet one of the very limited exemptions. There is no charge for completing the form. Once registered, you will then have to complete quarterly VAT returns online - regardless of how you originally registered and pay your VAT bill.

Currently, my turnover is too low, but if it looks like I'll exceed the threshold next year...

As I've said, it can be beneficial if you make all or most of your sales to VAT-registered businesses, because you can reclaim VAT on any business expenses you incur.

If I've only just gone over the threshold, but I won't exceed it next year, can I argue my case with HMRC?

If you can provide evidence and explain why the value of your Vat taxable turnover will not go over the de-registration threshold of £83,000 in the next 12 months, you may not have to register. However, you still have to inform HMRC National Registration Service that you have reached the limit.

Can I reclaim VAT on business purchases before I registered?

Subject to certain conditions, you can reclaim any VAT you incurred before you registered. This would include VAT on goods you bought for your business within the past three years and which you have not yet sold; and VAT on any services you received not more than six months before your date of registration.

I'm thinking of splitting my business up so that I don't exceed the VAT threshold...

You cannot do this. HMRC will not allow you to artificially separate your business to avoid registering for VAT.

If some of my sales are made overseas, must I register for VAT in the UK?

All sales are included to calculate whether you have reached the registration threshold, whether these are made in the UK or not.

Written with expert input from Kate Fisher of CJ Fisher & Co.

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