If you run more than one business, the sales in all those businesses must normally be added together to determine whether or not you must register for VAT.
However, if you are involved in the running of several separate legal entities, you may not need to combine the sales of those businesses to find whether you need to be VAT registered.
If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) decides that you have artificially separated one business into smaller parts to avoid registering for VAT, it can decide that the entire business is a single taxable person and therefore must be registered for VAT. For more information, see the page in this guide on who can and cannot register for VAT.
Situations that HMRC may consider a single taxable person for VAT purposes include:
If you deliberately avoid registering for VAT, you may be liable for a penalty. For serious offences, the matter will be investigated and you may be prosecuted. You can read about how to register for VAT, what happens if you do not register for VAT on time and more about artificial separation of business activities in the guides below.
If you have any questions about whether you should register for VAT, you can contact the HMRC VAT Helpline.
HM Revenue & Customs