Flat Rate Sector

16th June 2016

Contractors: Don’t pay too much flat rate VAT.
Just three weeks ago it was reported that the VAT flat rate scheme guidance was flawed. The ATT had highlighted that HMRC’s practice was costing traders, as they were forced to pay more VAT to HMRC under the flat rate scheme than the law required. HMRC has now responded with a welcome rewrite of VAT Notice 733: Flat rate scheme for small businesses. This notice now reflects comments made by judges in tax tribunal cases that businesses should ‘use ordinary English’ in choosing the flat rate trade category.

HMRC previously insisted that all consultants should chose the category ‘management consultants’ (flat rate: 14%), even if they were consultants in health and safety, employment, or marketing. Now those businesses who do not describe themselves as management consultants are free to choose the category ‘business services not listed elsewhere’ (flat rate:12%). Another area that caused confusion was the advice in para 4.4 of the previous version of VAT Notice 733, that all engineering consultants and designers should choose the category for ‘architect, civil and structural engineer or surveyor’ (flat rate 14.5%). The first tier tribunal cases: SLL Subsea Engineering Ltd (TC4256) and Idess Ltd (TC3638) found that mechanical engineers were not civil engineers, so mechanical engineers could choose the category ‘business services not listed elsewhere’ (flat rate 12%). That advice has been removed from the new version of VAT Notice 733.

The starting point for any business adopting the VAT flat rate scheme for the first time is to refer to the list of categories in the 1995 VAT Regulations, SI1995/2518, Reg 55K, in order to choose its trade category. In areas of doubt (e.g. where there is no specific category for the business description), HMRC offers assistance in the flat rate scheme manual at FRS7200 and FRS7300, which now reflect the recent court cases. It is also reassuring to read that Notice 733 confirms: “HMRC will not change your choice of sector retrospectively as long as your choice was reasonable. It will be sensible to keep a record of why you chose your sector in case you need to show HMRC that your choice was reasonable”.

Related Services

Value Added Tax Tax Planning


 
Other items in Blogs
 
Lisa Searle
8th January 2018 National Minimum Wage Rates

  Effective from April 2018 the National Minimum Wage rates will be increasing again, as per the below figures: Workers aged 25 years or more: £7.83 per hour Workers aged 21 to 24 years: £7.38 per hour Workers aged 18 to 20 years: £5.90 per hour Workers aged under 18 (but above compulsory school age):…

Read More »

Julie Quayle
8th January 2018 HMRC – Appeals

  HMRC has updated the postal address for where to send grounds for appeal if you have not paid your PAYE and National Insurance contributions on time. The address that should now be used is: DM PAYE Late Payment Penalties HM Revenue  and Customs BX9 1EW HMRC will charge penalties if more than one of…

Read More »

Jaimie Lane
4th January 2018 Charity annual returns due

  Charities with the financial year end of 31 March 2017 must submit their annual return by 31 January 2018, 10 months after the year end. What you need to submit varies based on whether it is an un-incorporated organisation or a charitable company. It also varies based on income of the charity – requiring…

Read More »

Richard Alecock
4th January 2018 Directors’ responsibilities

  Limited company directors and secretaries are collectively referred to as ‘officers’. Directors are appointed by members (shareholders and guarantors) to run and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. Secretaries are optional for private companies, but not public companies. They are usually appointed to assist directors with important administrative tasks. An Overview Company directors…

Read More »

Andrew Band
4th January 2018 EU competition infringements by European truck manufacturers

  The European Commission imposed fines of €3.4 billion in July 2016 and September 2017 following findings that a number of manufacturers were party to a cartel at senior management level from 1997-2001. Breakdowns of the fines for the companies involved were as follows: Daimler/Mercedes – €1 billion Scania – €880 million DAF – €752…

Read More »

Ian Piper
2nd January 2018 Compulsory Purchase Orders: Opportunity to tax efficiently diversify?

  With numerous businesses currently being forced to sell property under compulsory purchase orders (COP’s), a little known tax rule may be of assistance in enabling you to diversify your investment in your trade into a buy-let-investment without incurring any tax: HMRC guidance HS292 Business asset rollover relief is a long established rule which allows…

Read More »