Claiming input tax when you buy from a retailer

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VAT Regulation 16 is the legislation which allows a retailer to provide a much simplified invoice to a customer. The main condition is that the total value of supplies is less than £250. And, you cannot include any exempt supplies on such invoices.

If you sell items at different rates of VAT you must show the gross amount due at each rate of VAT, and the relevant VAT rates. You do not need to itemise the VAT.

HMRC guidance is in Notice 700, para 16.6.

If you are the purchaser, then a retailer’s invoice is valid evidence to claim input tax. The invoice does not need to show your name and address.

And you work out the VAT using the VAT fraction. For example, where the value of the supply is £120, and VAT is 20%; input tax is £120 x 1/6 = £20.


About Les Howard


Hi, I am a VAT Consultant, working mainly with charities. I am based in Cambridgeshire

I have over 20 years experience in VAT, and am currently also a part-time member of the Tax Tribunals.


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06th Nov 2017 11:37

My wife and I ran a pub for 6 years and as we were free of tie on wines and spirits bought them from Asda, over £300 every week. The first twice I went to customer services and requested a tax invoice. Of course the girl had no idea but produced a pad of forms which I advised her how to complete, but it still wasn't correct as it was over £250. I gave up after a couple of weeks relying on the idea that most VAT officers would accept that Asda were registered and as I paid on my credit card which was then paid in cash, I had that plus the normal till receipt as evidence. When we did get a visit we had a sensible officer who accepted this. My point is that even large retailers are not set up to issue tax invoices, which is why traders go to more expensive cash and carries.

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