VAT expert calls for reform of “Britain’s most contentious tax” on 50th anniversary

As VAT reaches a historic milestone of fifty years in UK legislation, the top of VAT at an organisation supporting greater than 4,500 companies within the East Midlands is asking for drastic reform of Britain’s most contentious tax.

From April 2022 to February 2023, HMRC experiences that it collected a staggering £150.5 billion from VAT alone – however with 428,615 UK companies closing in 2022 amid unprecedented working prices and power costs, there are requires clearer regulation to keep away from surprising costs.

Head of VAT at Duncan & Toplis, Christine Newitt, says: “Valued Added Tax is a prolific income for the federal government, behind solely Nationwide Insurance coverage and Revenue Tax – but it surely’s simply essentially the most contested and contentious tax for UK enterprise house owners.

“Within the 5 a long time since VAT got here into pressure on April 1, 1973, it has been a continuing minefield for companies struggling to navigate a system with extra exceptions than it has guidelines – usually leading to surprising interpretations by HMRC even for these of us within the career who perceive the tax.”

Christine represents companies on the VAT and duties group of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and speaks to native enterprise house owners throughout the East Midlands on daily basis, lots of that are in search of pressing recommendation on avoidable VAT pitfalls.

“I can confidently say that companies want fewer deliberately prohibitive guidelines and exclusions and clearer steering,” provides Christine.

“VAT was launched as a directive from the European Union, however after Brexit, we’re not certain to comply with these guidelines. Now we have an opportunity to reimagine VAT in a method that would profit enterprise house owners throughout the nation – VAT’s golden anniversary is a golden alternative for it to be reformed.”

Regardless of being in place for half a century, the administration of the VAT system has by no means saved tempo with advances in know-how and the worldwide market place. Christine thinks that companies may benefit from VAT being reformed to make it extra clear for enterprise house owners, with a a lot decreased burden of administration.

“Some international locations like Brazil, for instance, have adopted a cut up cost system, the place VAT is cut up out on the level of sale and paid electronically on to the tax authorities.”

“This is able to be a daring transfer however would definitely shift the onus from over-burdened enterprise house owners, ensuring that HMRC at all times receives the tax it’s owed and giving companies the understanding of understanding that, from a VAT perspective a minimum of, they received’t face any sudden surprises.” provides Christine

The feedback come simply days after companies reacted to an underwhelming Spring Finances, which Head of tax at Duncan & Toplis Nicholas Smith branded “a powerful disappointment for SMEs throughout the East Midlands and the UK.”

Nicholas Smith mentioned: “SMEs make up 99.9% of the UK economic system, in line with the federal government’s personal figures. So the place is the assist for them as the price of residing disaster closes doorways throughout the nation?”

HMRC is presently specializing in broadening its Making Tax Digital initiative throughout all taxes, which goals to interchange the outdated paper methods with a totally digitised providing. Development in know-how and methods to deal with tax assortment is lengthy overdue.  It’s hoped that it will allow companies to submit updates for all taxes each quarter, moderately than yearly, and make data extra updated – however Christine maintains that, for some companies, it “doesn’t go far sufficient in giving companies readability and certainty of their tax affairs”.

Learn extra:
VAT knowledgeable requires reform of “Britain’s most contentious tax” on fiftieth anniversary

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