Hello, I've recently started trading as a limited company and looking at voluntarily trading for VAT. I'm currently in discussion with a very good supplier who would prefer to deal with VAT registered customers but I also think it may reflect well on other parts of my business as I will be offering a service to other businesses and have found in the past that a lot would prefer to deal with somebody who is registered for VAT.

My first question - I've been looking at the flat rate VAT scheme but don't have a clue what category would suit best, at the moment I will be retailing hardware (tools and fittings) online to a mix of private and business customers. I will also be taking on small welding & fabrication jobs for business customers. I may look at adding more services to the business in the future. Do I choose the type of business that the majority of the company will be doing or is there an option to choose more than one VAT flat rate? Under these circumstances would it be better to go for standard VAT rather than VAT flat rate scheme?

My second question, although this is more of a concern rather than a question - In the past I traded as a VAT registered sole trader (mostly welding & fabrication and the VAT registration was voluntarily), at that time my account keeping was pretty dire and through my own carelessness I was late on a few VAT returns and ended up with a few penalties. My bookkeeping skills have improved quite considerably, I use account keeping software now rather than an accounts book (I used an old accounts book when trading as a sole trader) and also have an accountant who checks everything over when submitting returns. Are these issues likely to cause any problems with HMRC for my company or myself in the future. A part of me thinks register for VAT but make sure all accounts are kept correct and up to date at all times and all returns are delivered on time, another part of me is hesitant to register, mainly due to stories I've been hearing from friends (who have never had a business never mind a VAT registration).

Any advice or views on this would be appreciated.
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