We’ve been working with quite a few property letting businesses and we thought it would be worth highlighting some of the significant delays we have encountered with HMRC Registration and Option to Tax (OTT) units.
We worked with one particular client who was refurbishing a commercial property prior to it being let. The Option To Tax Notification was sent to the relevant HMRC unit in Glasgow for processing at the same time as the registration forms were sent to Wolverhampton. Some weeks passed with no response from the OTT unit and telephone calls to them were met with an answer phone saying the Unit was too busy to take calls! The delay in getting the OTT in place resulted in a delay in getting the business registered for VAT and and thus impacted on the cashflow of the refurbishment project. We have had some situations where VAT registrations cases have been put in abeyance at the Registration Unit due to a delay with the OTT Unit. This could be symptomatic of a lack of communication within HMRC.
All of this is not good news for businesses. As yet we don’t know the reason for such delays from HMRC, whether it is down to a lack of resource or simply too much work for them to manage, it’s a situation that is difficult to control. Either way we would urge anyone planning such a project or entering into these kind of transactions to plan ahead as much as possible – make sure that submitting the appropriate VAT registration forms is one of the first items on your to do list!
We would be interested in hearing from you if you have had any similar experiences or if you’ve received your VAT registration with no such problems!