HMRC’s VAT registration helpline closed

HMRC’s VAT Registration Helpline has closed. So, how do you get an answer to your VAT application query? We’ve summarised the main ways to contact HMRC’s VAT specialists.

We were dismayed to see that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shut down their VAT Registration Hotline as of 22 May 2023. This leaves businesses that have a VAT registration query without a direct HMRC team to communicate with.

Don’t worry, though, there are ways for you to get your VAT queries to HMRC, as we’ll see.

Why close the VAT Registration Helpline?

HMRC has a severe backlog of work at present. Applications are taking a long time to process, queries are not being answered and taxpayers are getting understandably frustrated.

Closing down the VAT Registration Helpline is part of HMRC’s ongoing mission to redress these delays. According to a recent email seen by AccountingWEB, closing down the helpline is intended as a way to free up HMRC staff and process more applications.

HMRC is quoted as saying:

“We recognise that performance across our core service lines still needs some improvement. We’re confident that this approach will help improve our customer service levels by allowing our colleagues to prioritise processing of these applications.”

How can you chase up a VAT registration?

With the VAT Registration Helpline now unavailable to you, how do you chase up a registration or get an answer to your VAT-related queries?

HMRC has suggested using their ‘Where’s my reply’ online tool to check on the status of your application. This online tool allows you to chase up an ongoing VAT application, as well as applications for corporation tax, employers PAYE and other taxes and government subsidies.

The length of time you wait for a response to your query will vary, but HMRC is suggesting that responses could take up to 40 working days. Not exactly an instant response!

How can you ask general VAT questions?

HMRC does have a facility for general VAT-related queries, but to get the best from these options, it’s sensible to have a VAT online account that’s already set up for your business.

To contact HMRC re a VAT query:

  • Log in to your VAT online account. Your online account lets you:
    • view your payments and outstanding liabilities
    • submit your VAT return and view previous returns
    • get a duplicate VAT registration certificate
  • Talk to HMRC’s Digital Assistant. HMRC has a digital chatbot that can answer basic questions and FAQs relating to your VAT affairs.
  • Call HMRC on the phone. Call the HMRC team on 0300 200 3700 (or +44 2920 501 261 if you’re outside the UK). HMRC advises that you should only phone them if the query is urgent. You’ll need to have your postcode, Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme (FHDDS) number and VAT registration number if you need to call. HMRC’s phone line opening hours are:
    • Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
    • Closed weekends and bank holidays
  • Use the HMRC app. HMRC’s official mobile app allows you to look up general information and basic FAQs etc, but won’t be able to answer specific questions.

Talk to us about your VAT queries

As your tax agent at The Stan Lee, we can answer most of your general VAT queries for you. We can also act on your behalf and contact HMRC to request more specific information.

If you’ve got a VAT-related question or an application query, just drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get you an answer as quickly as possible.

Get in touch to ask your VAT questions.

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3 Cloud Accounting Tips To Save Your Business Time And Money

3 Cloud Accounting Tips To Save Your Business Time And Money

Keeping on top of your accounts is a big part of running a successful and profitable business. But you don’t want to spend ALL your time dealing with accounting tasks, especially when that time could be spent building customer relationships, or developing new products etc.

So, how do you keep your finances in check, while also spending less time and money on your accounts?

  1. Bringing your accounting into the digital age

Switching to cloud accounting can be a revolutionary step for many business owners, especially when you look at the ways you can streamline and automate the basic accounting tasks. By using accounting platforms like Xero, QuickBooks, MYOB or Sage, you get all the basics of small business financial management, but with the benefits of smart automation.

With most modern cloud accounting software, you can:

  • Automate the scanning and digitisation of your expenses and receipts
  • Automatically reconcile your bank transactions with your invoices and bills
  • Connect your accounts to other time-saving apps for mileage claims or staff expenses.
  1. Getting paid faster and with less admin

With a cloud accounting platform driving your business, you also make it easier to send out e-invoices and get paid faster and more effectively. Improving your payment times and cash collection can make a huge difference to your cashflow position, and also sets the right expectations with your customers – making it clear that you require to be made on time.

Using the invoicing function in your business software, you can:

  • Quickly send out electronic invoices as soon as a job is completed
  • Set up automated invoices to be sent out at pre-agreed points in a project
  • Include payment buttons on your invoice, so customers can pay via PayPal or card
  • Remove the barriers to payment and speed up payment times.
  1. Getting a better overview of your important numbers

Using cloud accounting isn’t just about automating the time-consuming financial admin tasks. By recording and tracking all the financial and non-financial data flowing through your system, your accounting platform can actually provide you with a goldmine of useful real-time information.

With cloud accounting providing your reporting, you can

  • Access totally up-to-date real-time information, to improve your decision-making
  • Track your performance against targets to see how well the business is performing
  • Monitor spending and budgets to keep your cashflow under control
  • Understand your return on investment when it comes to sales and marketing activity 
  • See how promotion has driven sales but reduced your profit, due to discounting.

Talk to us about setting up a more productive kind of accounting

If you want complete control of your finances and business decision-making, updating your accounting software and processes will be key to achieving that goal.

We can help you decide which accounting software is most suited to your business, and how to maximise the benefits you get from automation and real-time data.

Get in touch to talk through updating your accounting and you can request us here fee quote.

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How to Use Digital Bookkeeping with Us at The Stan Lee?

How to Use Digital Bookkeeping with Us at The Stan Lee?

Digital Bookkeeping

In the emerging technology, digital bookkeeping is a must for all of us as accountants and every entrepreneur too here in the UK. As accountants, our challenges are to adopt with the digital accounting and help the clients as well. In this blog, you will read how we can support on your digital bookkeeping needs for your business venture.   


What is Digital Bookkeeping?

Digital bookkeeping is an electronic format (instead of using the traditional method of papers) where all accounting transactions including outgoings, incomings, VAT, cash flow and more are conducted in an electronic environment.

Why You Need to Consider Digital Bookkeeping?

From April 2022, all VAT registered businesses are subject to the Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliance regardless of their turnover, unless exempted. However, you have a range of benefits as follows in using digital bookkeeping:

  • Smooth and efficient document processing that you have access at anytime from anywhere
  • You have get rid of the paper mountain and no need to prepare folders for the quarter ending
  • Less space required for filling cabinet and can utilise that space for other purpose
  • More accurate bookkeeping rather than manual and always clear overview
How We can Help on Your Digital Bookkeeping?

We use most common accountancy software including; IRIS, Sage and Xero for your accountancy, taxation and business support needs. Here is the brief note how you can maintain your digital bookkeeping with us using Xero software. Please note that we are Xero certified advisors.

In our example, Xero is the main software for digital bookkeeping purpose whether you are VAT registered business or not. Once having Xero software, it means that you are benefited from:

  • Automatic “bank feed” connection and no hassle for manual entry
  • Create your invoice in few clicks and then ready to send digitally to your clients
  • Entry bills to pay and reconcile with the bank
  • Maintain expense claims including mileage records and then reimbursed by authorised person
  • Integrate with POS (point of sale) and no hassle for manual sales record
  • Facility to add payment service software including stripe, PayPal and so on
  • Multiple currency and hence no hassle for currency rate and adjustment for gains or loss
  • Connecting with other a range of app including Hubdoc

Hubdoc is a software that extracts key information from your receipts, invoices and bills. No more hassle for data entry and no more filing, simply take the photo of receipts using mobile app or upload documents from your computer. You may not have additional costs for using Hubdoc with Xero.

You may have trouble in maintaining your petty cash and to resolve this, why not consider Pleo. Please note that we are Pleo partner and you may be eligible for discounts as our clients. You will be benefited from: spending solution (seamless expense management), smart company cards for employees and reimbursements with invoices once using Pleo software.

 Here to Help on Your Digital Bookkeeping?

At The Stan Lee, we can confidently help on your Digital Bookkeeping affairs with competitive and reasonable fees. For further information, please get in touch with one of the friendly team and let’s find out how we can help on your digital bookkeeping needs.

We set up the digital bookkeeping for our client at no additional fees

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Xero Certified Accountants in Canary Wharf: How to Maintain Your Digital Accountancy Records with Xero?

Xero Certified Accountants in Canary Wharf: How to Maintain Your Digital Accountancy Records with Xero?

Xero Certified Accountants in Canary Wharf

Are you in the business or about into the business here in the UK? You know that the UK accountancy is now going mostly digitalised. You may need experts’ hand to help on your digital accountancy records. In this article, we have a brief about how to maintain your digital records with Xero software.  

Maintain Accountancy Records with Xero:

  • Xero Set Up: First you need to have the subscription with Xero and then set up your business with them in just few minutes. Xero has default Chart of Accounts that ready to use for you. You can setup your business not only for accounts, but also for VAT, PAYE, CIS and much more.
  • Bank Connection: You can connect your bank securely with Xero software so that all real time transactions will feed with Xero and ready to reconcile rather than manual import.
  • Bank Reconciliation: Once the bank transactions are in place with Xero, you can reconcile them on daily, weekly, monthly or at your own choice. The correct reconciliation leads to accurate readymade trial balance with profit and loss accounts and balance sheet so that you can prepare your management and final accounts.
  • Invoices and Bill Entry: Do you worry about manual invoices or invoicing software with extra costs. You can create your customised invoices with Xero and send to your clients digitally in such few clicks. You can also see online the amount unpaid from your clients that help you to accelerate your cash flow management. You can also do the bills entry with Xero to have the report of accounts payable.
  • File Stores: Worry about to keep your income and expense invoices that need file storage with extra costs? You can keep your files in Xero and have access anytime from anywhere as you like.
  • Data capture: If you have subscription with Xero, you can connect your company with Hubdoc with no extra costs so that you can capture data digitally. From Hubdoc, the data will integrate into Xero automatically once they are connected and upload data in Hubdoc correctly.
  • Expenses claims: You can manage your expenses with Xero and reimburse the spending of your employees. Even you can manage the expenses on the go including the mileage.   
  • VAT Returns: All VAT registered businesses here in the UK must submit their VAT returns with MTD (making tax digital) compatible software and you can do so with friendly Xero software. Preparing your VAT returns and submitting digitally is just with a click.
  • Much more: Using Xero means you have much more benefits including contacts, accept payment, financial reporting, easing multi currencies, connect with POS (point of sales) and so on.

The Stan Lee is Xero Certified Accountants based in Canary Wharf, London. We are ready to assist you on your cloud-based accounting with Xero software. We offer setting up your business with Xero software at no costs for our clients.

Get Free Xero Set Up

Disclaimer: The above information is just as a general information that might help you. However, we highly recommend having expert advice suited for your circumstances. The Stan Lee and its author are not liable if you rely on this and have any consequences.

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Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT Registered Businesses

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT Registered Businesses

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT Registered Businesses

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT Registered Businesses

We understand that the UK tax system is going to be mostly digitalized and you may be already familiar with Making Tax Digital (MTD) for your business ventures. However, this blog will give a brief about this.

What is MTD?

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the key part of the UK government’s plans to transform the UK tax system into most digitally advanced in the world. The aspiration of HMRC is to the following by executing the MTD:

  • More effective
  • More efficient
  • Easier for taxpayers to get their tax right

MTD affairs for VAT registered businesses

The transformation with Making Tax Digital (MTD) started (as mandatory) from April 2019 for VAT registered businesses those having taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000. However, the MTD is extended to all VAT registered businesses and organizations (including voluntarily registered), regardless of their turnover from April 2022.

Therefore, you should use MTD “compatible software” so that you can comply with MTD requirements. The best way is to check with your software provider or get advice from your accountants who can help on this.

Using software means it is extra costs to your business and requires technical knowledge for using the software. However, you will be benefited from fewer errors,  better financial planning, and time to increase productivity from this.

Failure to comply with the MTD compliance, HMRC may issue a penalty notice.      

How can The Stan Lee help on your MTD requirements?

At The Stan Lee, we have good hand to help you on your MTD compliance for your VAT registered business. We are Xero certified advisor and pleased to support you as a Silver Partner of this software. We offer for our clients on:

  • Register for the MTD without charging any fee
  • Set up your business in Xero as complimentary
  • Have own access in Xero so that you can see your financial information from anywhere

For further information and advice about the MTD for VAT, please ring a bell with one of the friendly team here at The Stan Lee and let’s find out how we can work together.

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Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliance for your VAT

Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliance for your VAT

Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliance for your VAT

If you’ve not heard about Making Tax Digital (MTD) then this article will help explain what it is, the important dates and how it is going to work for businesses and individuals alike.

What is Making Tax Digital?

MTD is all about giving you and your business better time to prepare by creating a seamless link between your financial records and the tax calculation system. Doing so will give you a clear indication as to how much money you need to set aside to pay your tax bill.

MTD will be more accurate and will allow fewer errors or miscalculations as well as being able to crack down and monitor any fraudulent activity – it is seen as a big-time saver and a way to streamline the taxation process between businesses and HMRC.

When is it happening?

The MTD initiative is currently being rolled out in stages, the first of which was MTD for VAT on April 1st, 2019.

After this date, all VAT-registered businesses must comply with all MTD regulations if they have a taxable turnover above £85,000 which is the current VAT threshold, and whose tax quarter begins April 1st needs to use compatible HMRC software to keep a digital record of accounts.

Check your software is compliant

With the introduction of MTD you will need to ensure that your accounting software is compatible going forward.

The best way to check is with your software provider and if you require further advice then one of The Stan Lee team will be happy to help you.

Most of the ERP and accounting software providers will have been preparing for these changes long in advance so if you need to update yours it should be a simple process.

Payment dates

Currently there have been no plans to change the payment dates for the taxes filed and reported under MTD this includes VAT, which is paid quarterly and income tax, which is paid in three instalments January, July and following January. It is always a good idea to check and make a note of these dates so you don’t forget.

Make sure you comply

While this is a big change to the taxation industry it is seen as the best way to make record keeping and paying your VAT bill much smoother.

However, you need to make sure that you comply as if you fail to submit more than once in 12 months you will receive a penalty notice. Once several points have been accrued then HMRC will issue a fine of £200.

Speak to the experts

If you would like any information or advice about Making Tax Digital then get in touch with one of the friendly team here.

At The Stan Lee, our team of highly trained accountants, bookkeepers and business consultants can help you with all aspects of your small business finances. 

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