Finding Out If A Business Is Vat Registered

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daisya | 22:03 Thu 14th Mar 2013 | Business
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I don't have a VAT reg number but I do have the company business number but try as I might I cannot find if the business is registered for VAT even though they quote they charge VAT. Can anyone tell me where I can find this info please? Many thanks.


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It could be thay they have to charge VAT on the products they are selling, as they are charged VAT on them, but they don't yet make enough to have to pay VAT. Once they reach a certain they then have to become VAT registered.
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Understand what you mean Tuvok but if they don't pay it because they are under the threshold for payment (I think it's £77k) then how can they charge it? I often wonder if it's a way of making extra money and all I want to do is find out if they are registered and it's legit them charging it.
Can't you just ask them for their VAT registration number daisy? Alternatively you could ring HMRC, they will probably tell you.
Invoices and letterheads should have their VAT number on it if they are registered, IMO that's a legal requirement.
Here's the HMRC info on what VAT invoices must show:
If a business charges VAT then they must provide their VAT number on every Invoice -simple as that - to find out their number ask them -if they refuse to give you their number or give you an excuse then there is something dodgy going on. Are you sure the Company Business number you have is not the VAT number? Tuvok's advice is incorrect -if you are registered for VAT either voluntarily or because you make above the threshold amount, then you have to collect (charge) VAT and then pay it to HMCR.
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The difficulty I have is I haven't bought anything from them yet so no invoice. It's trying to check up without alerting them because it's a one man business as far as I can see, running from a if I ask for their VAT number I don't want them to be "funny" over it especially as it's a repair job I want done. I thought because one can obtain the business number which I did online, I could find the VAT number as well.

The website he has was last updated in 2011 and he is still showing VAT at 17.5% which is was then of course. In an estimate email he sent he was of course quoting VAT at 20%....but I just want to check that he is registered for paying it...seems more difficult than I thought it would be.
there's a website suggested here to check, but I haven't looked at it
Ask the tradesmen -simple as that -if he gets 'funny' over it then you've had a lucky escape -my OH has a building firm and we are VAT registered - I would not bat an eyelid if some one rang up and asked for our VAT number -BE AWARE we have come across tradesmen who are not VAT register that quote with VAT then say they will deduct the VAT for cash -you think you're getting a bargain but you are'nt! BTW -an Estimate, email or otherwise needs to quote the VAT number if they add that amount onto the Estimate.
Agree with everything magsmay has said.

To me it seems likely this trader is breaking the law by attempting to show a VAT charge when he is not registered for VAT.

However it isn't clear to me (other than perhaps whistle-blowing on a rogue trader) what you can gain from this - a trader's price either includes VAT or it doesn't and, since you are not able to claim any VAT back, it is price to you that counts.
I guess it's in order not to feel one is being taken for a fool, with extras added on that are not justifiable. But sure, is the price charged one you are prepared to pay regardless ?
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Thanks for your replies which are all helpful. Like builders mate said, it does look to me that he could be adding VAT on when he doesn't do the turnover to pay it... and that's what I object to if that's the case.

Just think I'm wary because the business is run from a private house though has been there for years. Also because the website isn't updated but that's the least of it I think. Just don't want to be taken for a ride and also cause any bad feelings because this person doesn't live far from me. Perhaps I'm just being over cautious or just have a suspicious nature...hmm.
daisya -anyone can register for VAT if they have a business that incurs VAT. You can voluntarily register for VAT, REGARDLESS OF YOUR TURNOVER, if you think it will be to your benefit -ie you have a lot of vat'able inputs you can claim back for. We run our business from our home and our turnover is large and we employ 3 people - why would a Tradesman need business premises? Tradesmen are notorious for not updating sites -especially if thy don't have a partner or employee that is good on the PC so that would not worry me. If this guy is local then I presume he has worked for local people -ask around -does he have a good reputation?
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Thanks Mags, I understand about the VAT registration because I looked it up but assumed that a lot of people wouldn't register voluntarily lol (note to self...don't assume). As for their site not updated, they are into computers so I would have thought (assumption again) that it would have been updated because of the business and especially the VAT which is still showing at 17.5%. Perhaps I'm just thinking it's sloppy business practice when computers are their business... I'm just assuming that it would be kept up to date or at least for late 2012.

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Finding Out If A Business Is Vat Registered

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