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Budget 2021: Four VAT rates to grapple with

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​For the first time since 1979, the UK will have four rates of VAT for the six-month window starting on 1 October: 0%, 5%, 12.5%, 20%. So much for simplification, writes Neil Warren

3rd Mar 2021
Independent VAT Consultant
Columnist
In association with
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The need to lessen the impact of Covid-19 on affected industries has tempted the Chancellor to create even more VAT bands in his 2021 Budget.

The new rate of VAT for the tourist and hospitality industry will be 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Until 30 September 2021, the temporary 5% rate will be maintained. It was due to revert to 20% from 1 April 2021. The industry will be pleased with the six-month extension of the 5% rate and the half-way house of 12.5% until we’re back to 20% as normal on 1 April 2022. 

Here’s a test for VAT enthusiasts: Has the UK ever previously had a rate of 12.5% on any goods or services?

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Replies (9)

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By Open all hours
03rd Mar 2021 21:06

One simple tax, one low rate they said in 1972/3

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By graydjames
04th Mar 2021 08:47

"I remember talking about these proposed changes on my VAT update courses, and I retired from speaking in 2014. I used to include a photo of the late Bruce Forsyth on one of my slides, changing his popular catch phrase of ‘points make prizes’ to ‘points make penalties’."

I remember that and also - my most vivid memory - a picture of the wooden tables outside Euston station (re: VAT on "takeaway" food) and some of your comments about the dress sense of some of the patrons of the kiosks. Best VAT lectures I ever attended.

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By Malcolm McFarlin
04th Mar 2021 09:59

When MTD kicks in for those business under the VAT threshold on 01/04/22, there will be an exodus of businesses applying to deregister. I'll certainly be one of them as I wind down my business.

I quite miss the VAT fraction of 7/47 since it was easy to remember based on the Boeing aeroplane 747 when I was a VAT inspector.

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By Malcolm McFarlin
04th Mar 2021 09:59

When MTD kicks in for those business under the VAT threshold on 01/04/22, there will be an exodus of businesses applying to deregister. I'll certainly be one of them as I wind down my business.

I quite miss the VAT fraction of 7/47 since it was easy to remember based on the Boeing aeroplane 747 when I was a VAT inspector.

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By AndrewV12
04th Mar 2021 11:08

'and confirmed that the £85,000 threshold will remain in place until at least 2024. '

Mmmmmmmmmm not what I wanted to hear. 2024!

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By rmillaree
04th Mar 2021 11:59

Strewth what a polava

i have spent 10 minues looking on google to work out if our client may still eligible for the 0% flat rate that was temporarily available for being a pub - 1% less 1% first year discount. Sign of old age if you can't quickly find the answer on google :) - i am feeling old today for sure.

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By rmillaree
04th Mar 2021 11:59

Strewth what a polava

i have spent 10 minues looking on google to work out if our client may still eligible for the 0% flat rate that was temporarily available for being a pub - 1% less 1% first year discount. Sign of old age if you can't quickly find the answer on google :) - i am feeling old today for sure.

Thanks (0)
Replying to rmillaree:
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By rmillaree
04th Mar 2021 12:17

Ok found my answer eventually flat rate for pubs - 1% still till 30/9/2021 and 4% from 1/10/21

https://www.gov.uk/vat-flat-rate-scheme/how-much-you-pay
Pubs before 15 July 2020 6.5
Pubs from 15 July 2020 to 30 September 2021 1
Pubs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 4

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By paul.benny
04th Mar 2021 14:43

The complexity is being talked up a bit here.

We've had three rates(0%/5%/20%) ever since VAT was applied on domestic energy. And we've been dealing with a special rate for hospitality for nearly a year already (although with much of that sector closed, it's been more of a theoretical reduced rate than a real one).

Thanks (1)