VAT MOSS is the latest brainchild of HMRC (the UK’s Tax & Customs part of the government) and it’s been giving everyone some weird and wonderful headaches. While I don’t have time to go into details about why it’s going to hurt small businesses a lot (here’s Ysolda’s great summary), I wanted to quickly pop a post up as it seems many others are getting the error message I got to. (Skip to the end if you’re in a rush)
When logging in to the Government Gateway site, the logical first place to look to register for MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop) is under the “Services you can add” header; This is where I previously had to register for other services. You’ll find a link to register for MOSS for Union and non-Union businesses.
Pick the right one for your business (if you’re in the UK, you’re Union).
However, when using this link to register, I encountered this error:
No matter how many times I checked our details (which I knew were right), still that error.
I tried tweeting the @HMRCCustomers Twitter account and got flat-out ignored. I then proceeded to email the Online Services Helpdesk. Two weeks later, they responded with the following:
“For security reasons we are unable to provide any information, or carry out any actions, requested by email.”
I was instructed to phone the VAT helpline, which I did earlier today. After half an hour on hold, and an almighty battle with the voice recognition system (Did you say “I want to cancel child benefits”?, Did you say “I want to import a car into the UK?”), I managed to speak to a nice Scottish chap. After quite openly explaining that they were helpless and hoping for more information soon, he put me on hold a while longer and then pointed me to a completely different section through which you register. Of course. Because that makes sense…
You’ll find the registration section you need under “Register for HMRC Taxes”, accompanied by the confidence inducing “This is a ‘beta’ service” message.
Once you’re in there, it shouldn’t take you long to register, but somehow, it has been absolutely teeth-pullingly impossible to get the information needed to get this far.
Good luck to everyone else who’s having to wrestle VAT MOSS for 2015!