Reduction in the standard rate of VAT

The standard rate of VAT was reduced from 1 December 2008 from 17.5% to 15%. HMRC have published some further frequently asked questions which clarify the correct treatment in several situations.

One situation which helps to explain the complexity of the issue is as follows:

'Treatment of tickets to events (theatre, football season tickets etc):

1. I am a concert promoter. I do not issue VAT invoices but received payment in October 2008 for a concert that will take place in April 2009. Can I adjust the VAT?

The short answer is no. The special rules for supplies spanning the change in the VAT rate apply where payment is received (or a VAT invoice is issued) before 1 December 2008 where the goods are to be supplied or services performed on or after that date.

In the case of tickets to a concert (or theatrical performance etc) what you are selling is the right to attend a particular event. As in this instance the right to the event was granted in October 2008, the supply does not span the change in the rate and VAT of 17.5% should be accounted for.

The same principle applies to football season tickets. If these were bought and paid for prior to 1 December 2008 they are subject to the 17.5% VAT rate with no scope for adjustment

Update 21 January 2009

Since the above guidance was published on 8 December 2008 it has become clear that a number of businesses were not aware of HMRC’s view of the correct VAT treatment of tickets to events. Some have assumed that where a ticket was sold prior to 1 December 2008 for an event due to take place on or after that date that the 15% rate should apply.

Where a business has mistakenly refunded its customers the difference between the 17.5% VAT originally charged on ticket sales and the 15% rate HMRC will operate a light touch and will not seek to recover the VAT that has been refunded. This treatment applies to refunds that were made up to the date of the publication of this update.'

Note that HMRC will apply a ‘light touch’ where businesses have incorrectly applied the rules up until the issue of the update on 21 January 2009.

As this particular situation illustrates, the change in the VAT rate is causing widespread confusion. If you have any concerns please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC VAT rate guidance

Our other services...

Financial Accounts Financial Accounts

We can help with the preparation of accounts for all types of business. Whether you are a Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Company, Limited Liability Partnership or a Charity, AGP has the expertise to deal with you. We help you fulfil all your obligations with HMRC, Companies House and any other regulatory body that you are required to report to.

Audit Audit

An audit provides a high level of independent assurance of the financial position and results of an organisation. This gives shareholders confidence that the reported performance of the business is accurate as well as providing external users with certainty that the accounts show a true and fair view. An audit lends credence to the company accounts in a number of ways.

Tax Planning Tax Planning

It is important to ensure your tax planning reflects any changes to your circumstances which is why we work very closely with all our personal clients. AGP are trusted to manage tax efficiently. Sometimes just a simple review of your personal tax circumstances can reveal significant tax saving opportunities which can be realised quickly and at minimal cost..

Payroll Services Payroll Services

AGP can become your own part-time Payroll Manager. An expert who knows the complexity of the relevant legislation inside out and for a fraction of the cost of an internal manager. Why not outsource this obligation and spend the time saved doing what you do best, running your business?

Corporate Taxation Corporate Taxation

Corporation tax can be a huge outgoing for your company if it is not managed correctly and planned appropriately. You can trust AGP to employ a holistic approach to your tax planning whether you are a medium sized SME, an international organisation or a small owner-operator.

Management Accounts Management Accounts

Management accounts allow business owners to exert a far greater degree of control over their business, recognising and addressing problems and identifying opportunities soon after they arise.

Bookkeeping & VAT Bookkeeping & VAT

When running a business, priorities are often focused on the operational side of your business. Bookkeeping & administration can often be put off until it becomes quite a major task. By taking advantage of our bookkeeping service, we can take this problem away so you can get on with running your business while we manage your accounting books.

Company Formation Company Formation

We take away the hassle. Whether starting a new business or restructuring an existing one, our extensive knowledge of company formation means we can advise you on the merits and possible pitfalls of incorporation.

Contractor Accounts Contractor Accounts

We have a wealth of experience in the contractor market and as a result there are not many firms of Chartered Accountants that can claim they know the contractor industry as well as AGP. This leads to a number of benefits.