03 March, 2022

Using a Virtual Office Address for VAT Registration: Is It Legal?

As an entrepreneur, you need to be aware of whether or not you qualify for VAT registration — and, if you don't qualify, whether you can still choose to register voluntarily. 

Using a virtual office for VAT registration: Is it legal?

Registration for VAT is a pretty quick and simple process. You can even do it online; there's no need to deal with snail mail or wait on hold for hours on the phone. Yet, even with the ease of VAT registration, there's one major stumbling block that a lot of small business owners run into: what business address should be used?

If you have a physical office or storefront, then, sure, you can use that. But what if you work from home? What are your options? Can you do VAT registration using a virtual office address?

In this article, we'll help you determine if your business meets VAT criteria and, if so, what your address registration options are.

When Should a Business Register for VAT?

You are required to register if one of these two conditions is met:

  • Your business’s VAT taxable turnover was greater than £85,000 over the last 12 months OR
  • You expect your business’s VAT taxable turnover will reach the £85,000 threshold in the next 30 days. 

Let’s walk through a couple of scenarios. 

Scenario 1: On the 1st of June, 2022, you realise that your VAT taxable turnover for the next 30-day timeframe will take your business over the threshold. The day of “realisation” — the 1st of June — is the “effective date of registration.” You must register by the end of the 30-day period — the 30th of June, 2022. 

Scenario 2: Between the 5th of October, 2021, and the 3rd of September, 2022, your VAT taxable income reached £95,000. That was the first time your business was pushed over the £85,000 threshold. In this situation, you must register within 30 days of the end of the month in which you exceeded the threshold. In other words, you must register by the 30th of September, 2022, and your “effective date of registration” will be the 1st of October, 2022. 

Keep in mind that there are other situations in which you’d need to register your business for VAT, including:

  • If you take over/inherit a business that’s registered for VAT
  • If neither you nor your business is based in the UK, but you supply goods/services to the UK (there is no threshold in such a case)

Lastly, you may voluntarily register for VAT even if your business turnover does not meet the threshold. 

What Address Should You Use for VAT?

When registering for VAT in the UK, you must use the address in which your company’s business is actually carried out. This does NOT have to correspond with your company’s registered office address. 

For instance, let’s say you run a business from home, but you are registered with Companies House under a virtual business address for privacy reasons. In such a case, you would still need to use your home address during VAT registration, as that’s where your daily business operations are carried out. 

Similarly, you cannot use a PO box, an accountant’s address, or any “care of” address. 

Is It Legal to Use a Virtual Business Address for VAT Registration?

If you try to use a virtual office address for tax registration, the HMRC will return the form to you for correction. Furthermore, if you issue VAT invoices, you cannot include a virtual address on them — you must instead include the address you registered under. This is because if a customer is audited by the HMRC, a representative can check their inbound invoices. If they do not match your registration information, they could be rejected as input tax. 

How Does Hoxton Mix Fit In?

We understand that you might not want to include your home address in your VAT registration, especially since you will then have to include it on any VAT invoices. Yet, businesses are not allowed to use a virtual address for VAT registration. So, what can you do?

At Hoxton Mix, we offer dedicated desks; they are suitable for a solo entrepreneur and start from £400 per month. By conducting your daily business at our coworking space, you will fulfil the VAT registration requirements of using an address where business operations are carried out. 

Furthermore, as part of the dedicated desk subscription, you will get high-speed fibre-optic broadband, complimentary refreshments, an ergonomic chair, and meeting room usage. You can even receive post to this address!

And, of course, if your business does not meet the VAT requirements, you don’t have to worry about any of this. It is perfectly fine to use a virtual office address when registering with Companies House. Hoxton Mix offers the most advantageous business office address rental plans — and our 4.9 average rating on Trustpilot speaks to that!

So, if you need a virtual business address in the UK for other purposes, make sure to check out our plans! Whether you want mail collection, forwarding, or emailing, we’ve got you covered! You can also add on meeting room rentals and a monthly business phone plan if needed. 

Final Thoughts

If you clicked on this article looking for a way to register for VAT using a virtual address, you might be disappointed — such addresses aren’t accepted by the HMRC. You are required to use the address in which you carry out your daily business activities, whether it’s your home address or not.

But what if you don’t need to register for VAT and just need a virtual office address for company formation in the UK? Hoxton Mix offers all the benefits of a prime London business address! We’ll set you up with a virtual office address in under 10 minutes, and your privacy will no longer be a concern. 


Do I need to be VAT-registered?

You only need to be VAT registered if you meet the business turnover threshold or expect to reach the threshold within 30 days. 

Is it legal to use a virtual address to get a VAT number?

No, it is not legal to conduct VAT registration using a virtual business address. 

What address should I use for VAT?

When registering for VAT, you must use the address in which you carry out your daily business activities. This means using a virtual office service for VAT registration is prohibited, as is using a PO box, a “care of” address, or an accountant’s address.

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