Retailers have been warned of a VAT scam that could leave them with a bill for over £2,000.

According to the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), several retailers have been sent letters headed ‘Publication of Companies and VAT Registration in the UK Corporate Portal 2013’.

These letters cite an EU requirement for UK companies to provide a VAT number and contain a partially-completed form for the retailer to sign and return in order to be added to the ‘UK Corporate Portal database’ for an annual fee of £797 to be paid for the next three years, with a year’s extension if not cancelled in writing three months ahead of the expiry date.

A BIRA spokesman said the entire process was a money-making scam and that there was absolutely no legal requirement for retailers to complete the form.

“The letter is official-looking and the language is convincing,” he said. “However if you receive such a letter, forward it onto our legal in-house team. As with any unsolicited correspondence, however official looking, be sure to read any small print carefully, and if in doubt, get in touch with BIRA to talk through any concerns.”

The BIRA legal team can be contacted at or on 0121 446 6688.