Spring Budget 2017 – VAT

There were no changes announced to the rate of VAT.

The VAT registration and de-registration limits have been increased with effect from 1 April 2017 to £85,000 and £83,000 respectively.

VAT Flat Rate Scheme

A reminder of the changes to the VAT flat rate scheme announced in the Autumn Statement that take effect from 1 April.

Small businesses can join the VAT Flat Rate Scheme and pay a fixed rate of VAT rather than having to calculate the VAT on sales and purchases separately and pay over the difference.

Some of VAT rates under the flat rate scheme are quite generous for businesses that have little in the way of VATable purchases of goods.  For these ‘limited cost traders’ (with cost of goods less than 2% of their turnover, or £1,000 per annum if lower), a new flat rate of 16.5% will be introduced from 1 April 2017.

There are anti-avoidance provisions to stop you buying, say £250 of stationery as goods to resell since only goods purchased for the purposes of the main trade will be allowed as qualifying goods.

Most small service business will be affected, and many will need to revert to the standard VAT scheme or consider de-registering for VAT.

HMRC have published an online tool for businesses to use to determine whether they need to use the new rate here.

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