HMRC close their VAT registration helpline on Monday 22 May 2023. They say that 85% of callers to the helpline were just ringing to track the progress of VAT registration applications and now call handlers will be redeployed to process VAT registration applications instead. Outstanding applications can now be chased up via email. It's unclear how HMRC will deal with the queries of the other 15% of callers.

A review of the VAT registration helpline service by HMRC shows that most calls to the VAT registration helpline are from taxpayers who want an update on the progress of their applications. If you are chasing up an application you can use HMRC's 'Where's my reply' tool which gives you an expected response date, this is normally 40 working days.

HMRC also say that if you submitted an application more than 40 working days ago or if you are replying to a request for further information (VAT 5), you should use its dedicated registration email inbox, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Customers who have not received a response to their initial application within 40 working days, will receive a reply to their email within five working days.

HMRC are keeping the decision to close the VAT registration helpline under review and are confident that this approach will help improve customer service levels by prioritising the processing of applications.

HMRC has a 'VAT:General Enquiries' page which also provides other phone numbers and contact details for different kinds of VAT query.

Useful guides on the topic

A beginners guide to VAT
VAT: Where do I start? What is VAT? Who has to register for VAT? What rate should you charge? How do you calculate VAT? When are your VAT filing obligations?

Registering for VAT
When should a business register for and charge VAT? What are the VAT registration thresholds? What penalties might HMRC issue for late notification of registration? When do you need to file a VAT return?

VAT: Transfer of a business as a going concern
Buying a business and VAT, do you take over the old owners' VAT registration? What is a Transfer Of a Going Concern (TOGC)? What conditions must be met? What are the consequences of a TOGC? 

Is voluntary VAT registration worthwhile?
When can a business voluntarily register for VAT? When would it be beneficial to voluntarily register?

VAT Penalties
When do penalties apply for VAT? What penalties are charged and how can they be mitigated?

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