Hi Hoping someone could point me in the right direction on this one. Am starting out as self employed consultant and am registering with HMRC etc. I know I can't charge VAT if not VAT registered and its voluntary if under threshold. Could anyone advise what (if any) would be the benefits of voluntary registration (aside from knowing that threshold not an issue). thanks
Usually beneficial to register if your customers can reclaim the VAT you charge them, i.e. if most customers are larger businesses etc.
Not usually beneficial if your customers aren't VAT registered, i.e. domestic customers, or some charities & public sector organisations.
The point is that you can add VAT to your sales if the customer is VAT registered, and reclaim VAT you pay on your purchases/expenses. If your customers aren't VAT registered, they won't accept you charging 20% on top, so you'll have to reduce your prices to remain competitive.
I would try and speak with an accountant. Most offer free consultations so you can get an idea of what your options are and what's right for your business circumstances. My wife set up a business in Jan and found these guys pretty good: www.allaboutaccountants.com