Hello, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question.
Here is the advice from the Gov UK web site on this matter:
'6. Purchases made before registration
There’s a time limit for backdating claims for VAT paid before registration. From your date of registration the time limit is:
You can only reclaim VAT on purchases for the business now registered for VAT. They must relate to your ‘business purpose’. This means they must relate to VAT taxable goods or services that you supply.
You should reclaim them on your first VAT Return (add them to your Box 4 figure) and keep records including:
The first return after registration will invariably be skewed. You may reclaim the VAT for the goods supplied 1 Dec 15 - 28 Feb 16 on that first return.
I do hope that my reply has been of assistance.
Supplies within the EU are normally standard rated unless subject to the reverse charge, but that only applies to the seller's VAT account. The buyer will have been charged VAT on the invoices and the input tax can be reclaimed in box 4 of the VAT 100.
I am at a total loss to understand the attitude of the VAT offices advice. You should take this up with the office concerned as a formal complaint. It shows a very limited understanding of VAT trading.
Yes, but were the goods supplied by the EU supplier subject to the reverse charge? If they were not then the input tax is reclaimable. HMRC have only given you half the answer and, inevitably, that which is in their favour. For example, if the input taxes were actually levied by Customs on importation of goods, then there would be no reverse charge.
The treatment of imported goods subject to the reverse charge is as follows [source: Avalara VAT Live]:
' When the Reverse Charge is applied, the recipient of the goods or services makes the declaration of both their purchase (input VAT) and the supplier’s sale (output VAT) in their VAT return. In this way, the two entries cancel each other from a cash payment perspective in the same return.'
Thank you for your support.