Pre-registration claims for VAT – looking back
If you have recently become VAT registered and are about to prepare your first VAT Return, don’t forget to look back at your previous expenditure to see if there’s any pre-registration expenses that can be claimed for.
If you have purchased goods in the last 4 years that you still have in stock at the date of registration, then you can enter these on your VAT Return and re-claim the input VAT paid. Also, if you have purchased assets in the last 4 years, e.g. machinery and equipment, that you still hold at the date of registration , then you can re-claim the input VAT paid on these.
You can also re-claim input VAT on services that you received within the 6 months prior to registration. However they must relate to the ongoing business and not to completed projects or to goods that were used up before registration e.g. you cannot claim for repairs to a machine that was sold before you registered for VAT.
You need to have the invoices on record to be able to back up your claim in case H M Revenue & Customs were to query it.
Don’t forget that you need to register online to be able to file your first VAT Return. You can do this using your government gateway account.