How to update your details when you receive your VAT registration number

This article explains how to enter your VAT registration number once you receive it from HMRC. It also explains the steps to take if you've received an error message when trying to update your VAT registration number in FreeAgent.

When you apply to be registered for VAT, you need to give a date from which your business will be registered, which is your VAT registration date. HMRC says that you should start charging VAT to your customers for every sale that you make on or after your VAT registration date.

There will be a gap between the date you submitted the application and the date when HMRC issues your VAT number. Once you’ve received your VAT number, you’ll need to update your VAT registration settings in FreeAgent.

Please note that you’ll need full (level 8) access to FreeAgent to follow the steps below.

Updating your VAT registration settings

Select 'Settings' from the drop-down menu in the top-right corner and then select 'VAT Registration'.


Select 'Registered' from the ‘Are you VAT Registered?’ drop-down menu and enter the VAT registration number in the ‘VAT Registration Number’ field.


Select ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom of the screen to complete the process.

Error message

If you’ve sent non-VAT invoices to your customers dated on or after your VAT registration date whilst you were waiting for your VAT number to be issued, you’ll receive the following error message in FreeAgent when you try to update the number in your VAT registration settings:

‘Effective date of VAT registration can not be changed, as you have sent non-VAT invoices on or after this date. Mark these as draft to change your settings’.


Any invoices dated on or after your VAT registration date that don’t currently have any VAT on them will need to be marked as draft because VAT will need to be added to them as they fall into a VAT-registered period.

Marking invoices as draft

Navigate to the ‘Work’ tab at the top of the screen and select ‘Invoicing’ from the drop-down menu.


Select the relevant invoice from the list and select ‘Make Draft’ above the invoice template.

If the invoice has been marked as paid, you’ll need to remove the payment before you can revert it to draft. Find out more about how to edit an invoice.


Once all of the relevant invoices are marked as draft, you’ll be able to add the VAT registration number by following the steps above.

Please note that once you’ve added the VAT registration details successfully, any invoices dated on or after your VAT registration date that were reverted to draft will have 0% VAT automatically applied to them. Please make sure to check and adjust the VAT rates on them to make sure they are correct.

If any invoices should have included 20% VAT, this may mean your customers have underpaid the VAT portion of these invoices, so you may need to discuss this with them in order to resolve any underpayment. You can either re-send them the invoice with the correct amount or send them a VAT only invoice. If you’re unsure, please ask your accountant.

Once you’re happy the invoices are correct, you can mark them as sent again and re-explain any bank transactions if relevant.

Did you find this article useful?