HMRC confirms closure of VAT helpline

Published: 19th May 2023

The VAT registration helpline, which many businesses use to raise queries about whether they need to register for VAT, is to be closed at very short notice. Why is HMRC scrapping the service and when?

The VAT registration helpline will no longer operate from Monday 22 May. HMRC notified registered agents with just five days’ notice earlier this week. Initially, there was some confusion as the email stated that the closure date would be 22 May 2024. However, it has since transpired this was an error. Justifying the move, HMRC stated that 85% of the calls to the helpline are businesses or agents requesting updates regarding applications. HMRC feels that staff time would be far better spent on actually processing VAT registrations instead. This follows a temporary cessation of the service in early May, which allowed more than 4,000 additional items of post to be processed.

If you have submitted a registration, HMRC is asking that you use the “Where’s my reply?” tool to let you know approximately when to expect a response. However, HMRC also says that registrations can take up to 40 days. If you haven’t had your response in this window, contact HMRC using the dedicated email