If you are intent on growing your business at some stage you will have to become VAT registered. It is surprising how many people don't want to grow their business because they are concerned that becoming VAT registered will be complicated.
In fact registering for VAT is straightforward and can be quickly and easily done online. It does take a few weeks before HMRC will confirm your registration details during which time you should charge your customers an additional 20% unless you have not reached the effective date of registration you have requested.
Using accounts software to maintain a record of your income and outgoings will ensure you will be able to easily prepare your quarterly VAT return. You can, of course, only claim VAT back on your outgoings where your supplier has charged you VAT and where you have the invoice or receipt to support this claim.
Claiming VAT on your purchases will reduce the amount of VAT you have to pay across to HMRC which you have charged your customers. This is the advantage of being VAT registered. The only situation in which you can't claim VAT back on the purchases is when you have chosen to use the Flat Rate VAT scheme. In this situation you pay a reduced level of VAT on your sales to HMRC although you still continue to charge an extra 20%. Further information on the Flat Rate VAT Scheme is available here.
Accounts software will produce the figures for your VAT return and you can often submit this directly to HMRC through the software or you can submit it online via HMRC Government Gateway.
The other concern business owners have about becoming VAT registered is being able to pay the amount due. However what they should remember is that the extra 20% charged to their customers is not extra income. That 20% should be put aside.
Our team of bookkeepers manage VAT and prepare and submit lots of returns every month and can make being VAT registered straightforward for you too. Contact us for help and peace of mind.