Claim back pre-registration VAT

It is possible to reclaim VAT you have paid on any business purchases before you have subsequently registered for VAT. In fact, once you have registered your business for VAT the first thing you should consider is the possibility of reclaiming input tax on purchases of goods and services prior to registration.

This article summarises the issues you will need to consider for the two categories: goods and services.

There’s a time limit for backdating claims for VAT paid before registration. From your date of registration, the time limit is:

  • 4 years for goods you still have, or that were used to make other goods you still have
  • 6 months for services

You can only reclaim VAT on purchases for the business now registered for VAT. They must relate to your ‘business purpose’. This means they must relate to VAT taxable goods or services that you supply.

You should reclaim them on your first VAT Return (add them to your Box 4 figure) and keep records including:

  • invoices and receipts
  • a description and purchase dates
  • information about how they relate to your business now

If your pre-registration purchases and other costs are significant, this facility can produce a reasonable cash flow benefit. Please call if you would like our help to assess any possible claim you could make.

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