VAT: Registration Case Studies

This Content Was Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Jessica Garbett


The basic requirement is that if your business income goes over £90,000 on a rolling 12 month basis (2024/25), then VAT registration is necessary.

Some things to be aware of

  • This a rolling test, not financial year, calendar year or tax year
  • VAT works on an entity basis, so if you are a sole trader with 2 or 3 separate businesses they are aggregated together – this can often be sidestepped by incorporation or bringing a family member in as a partner, so long as that is a genuine move and not motivated by tax saving.  See VAT Mitigation
  • See case study 1 below on how the rolling test works


Voluntary VAT Registration – Sometimes we’ve been asked by Yoga Teachers about registering voluntarily for VAT – you can do this where your turnover is below the threshold.   The temptation arises to get VAT back on expenses, eg hiring a venue for a workshop, or studio rent.  However it means you have to charge VAT on all your income which outweighs the saving; unless you put your prices up and risk losing business. See case studies 2 and 3 below.

Be aware of the “cliff edge” effect of VAT, in other words if your turnover is £89,999 no vat is due, if its £90,001 then you pay VAT on everything.

When you register you can make a one off claim for VAT incurred up to:

  • Three years ago on goods which you still use in your business, eg IT or props
  • Six months ago on services which your business still benefits from, eg web design
  • No claim can be made for items which have been “consumed”, eg telephone costs or cleaning materials

The case studies below show the following examples:

  1. VAT Registration – this shows how the VAT Registration Threshold applies.
  2. Voluntary VAT registration (1) – how it is detrimental
  3. Voluntary VAT registration (2) – how it is detrimental
  4. VAT cliff edge – how it effects businesses adversely

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