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How do you handle Input VAT on Insurance Claims?

insurance design

This often causes confusion, firstly because many people wrongly assume that IPT (Insurance Premium Tax) is VAT, it isn’t! and then when they make a claim they may get a VAT only invoice.

HMRC VIT13500 has the answer…

Insurers cannot recover any VAT incurred in obtaining replacement goods or having repairs carried out for a policy holder. The supply of goods (or services in the case of repairs) is considered to be made to the policy holder. This is so even when payment is made directly to the supplier by the insurer.

Subject to the normal rules a VAT registered policy holder may treat any VAT incurred on the supply as input tax. The insurer will normally pay the policy holder compensation exclusive of VAT. The policy holder will pay the supplier the tax and recover it as input tax.

If an insurance claim is for loss or damage at a domestic property you should make sure that any VAT claimed as input tax relates only to goods used for a business purpose.

Insurance and reinsurance is exempt from VAT under article 135 of the Sixth VAT Directive.

This also explains why an insurer may ask a contractor engaged in repair work not to invoice them VAT, its simply that they want the VAT only element to be invoiced to the insured.

Is it a Van or a Car?

black large pickup

It makes a big difference whether a double cab pick up is treated as Car or a Van for tax purposes, in summary:

  1. Benefit in Kind on Cars is linked to CO2 where as on a Van its Flat Rate (and could be zero if your private use is insignificant)
  2. Vans qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance, Cars have restricted Capital Allowances
  3. You can reclaim VAT on Vans but its much harder to reclaim VAT on cars

HMRC have some guidance in EIM23150….

Under this measure, a double cab pick-up that has a payload of 1 tonne (1,000kg) or more is accepted as a van for benefits purposes. Payload means gross vehicle weight (or design weight) less unoccupied kerb weight (care is needed when looking at manufacturers’ brochures as they sometimes define payload differently).

Under a separate agreement between Customs and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a hard top consisting of metal, fibre glass or similar material, with or without windows, is accorded a generic weight of 45kg. Therefore the addition of a hard top to a double cab pick-up with an ex-works payload of 1,010 kg will convert the vehicle into a car (net payload reduced to 965 kg). Under this agreement, the weight of all other optional accessories is disregarded. HMRC has also adopted this treatment.

A double cab with a payload in excess of 1000kg can still be classified as a car if the taxman dealing with the case decides it is a car. You may have to justify a genuine business need for the vehicle.

VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS)

How will the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) work?

You may opt to use the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) online service to save you having to register for VAT in every EU Member State where you supply digital services. This will be available from 1 January 2015, but you will be able to register to use it from October 2014.

If you are an EU business, you may register and use the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS)  online service in the Member State where you have your business. Using the VAT MOSS online service means you can submit a single calendar quarterly VAT MOSS return and payment covering all your EU digital service supplies. For example, if you register for the VAT MOSS online service in the UK, you will be able to account for the VAT due on your B2C digital service sales in any other Member States where you do not have an establishment by submitting a single VAT MOSS return and any related payment to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC will send an electronic copy of the appropriate part of your VAT MOSS return, and the related VAT payment, to each relevant Member State’s tax authority on your behalf. The VAT rate used will be that of each Member State of Consumption at the time the service was supplied.

VAT on digital services to consumers

Did you know that you will have to charge VAT on digital services to consumers from 1st January 2015?

On 1 January 2015, The European Union (EU) VAT place of supply of services rules will change for business to consumer (B2C) supplies of broadcasting, telecommunications and e-services (digital services). A consumer means a private individual.

These changes will affect all businesses that supply digital services to consumers, whether or not they are registered for UK VAT. This is because there are no registration limits for digital service supplies made to consumers outside the UK. Any business supplying digital services to a consumer in another Member State therefore has to charge VAT on the supply in that Member State and register for VAT in that Member State.

If your customer does not provide you with a VAT Registration Number (VRN), and you have no other information that suggests that your customer is in business and VAT registered, you can treat this as a B2C supply.

VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS)

To save you having to register for VAT in every EU Member State where you supply digital services, you may opt to use the VAT Mini One Stop Shop online service (VAT MOSS). This will be available from 1 January 2015, but you will be able to register to use it from October 2015

Remember this affects all businesses not just VAT registered ones. Contact us on 01243 788041 if you need help with this.

VAT crisis for Stalls, Car Boots, Serviced Offices and Markets

Crafts- Market /Craft fair with stall holder

Until now the hire of stalls and other pitches used for temporary sales events have generally been considered to be the supply of land and exempt from VAT in accordance with Item 1, Group 1, Scedule 9 VAT Act 1994 and

But following discussions at EU level in connection with antiques fairs HMRC now feel that VAT should be chargeable at Standard Rate.

Not only that HMRC want VAT to be payable on add-on services such as promoting the fair, providing power and security which had been treated as incidental and VAT exempt.

The change in policy (according to came about following a VAT inspection and the decision is now being appealed.

Whilst the case applies to antiques if HMRC win it will be applied to:

  • Car Boot Sales
  • Services Office Accomodation
  • Market Stalls

This could have a massive effect on small traders who are not VAT registered.

How a Snowball created a £2.8m VAT rebate

Cakes with grated coconut

It is a question to challenge some of the finest legal minds in the land: when is a cake not a cake, and a biscuit not a biscuit?

Two judges solved it last week by letting their taste buds decide – after testing a plateful of Snowballs, a chocolate and coconut covered marshmallow treat that has been popular with the sweet-toothed masses for generations.

Verdict: Snowballs are cakes. And that means the snack’s manufacturers are in line for a £2.8million rebate from the taxman after a lengthy legal wrangle over whether Snowballs should attract VAT (which biscuits do) or be zero-rated (as a cake).

VAT can be very complicated as highlighted in the case of Jaffa Cakes – Cakes or Biscuits?

The leading case on the borderline is that concerning Jaffa cakes: United Biscuits(LON/91/0160). Customs and Excise had accepted since the start of VAT that Jaffa cakes were zero-rated as cakes, but always had misgivings about whether this was correct. Following a review, the department reversed its view of the liability. Jaffa cakes were then ruled to be biscuits partly covered in chocolate and standard-rated: United Biscuits (as McVities, one of the largest manufacturers of Jaffa cakes) appealed against this decision. The Tribunal listed the factors it considered in coming to a decision as follows.

  • The product’s name was a minor consideration.
  • Ingredients:Cake can be made of widely differing ingredients, but Jaffa cakes were made of an egg, flour, and sugar mixture which was aerated on cooking and was the same as a traditional sponge cake. It was a thin batter rather than the thicker dough expected for a biscuit texture.
  • Cake would be expected to be soft and friable; biscuit would be expected to be crisp and able to be snapped. Jaffa cakes had the texture of sponge cake.
  • Size: Jaffa cakes were in size more like biscuits than cakes.
  • Packaging: Jaffa cakes were sold in packages more similar to biscuits than cakes.
  • Marketing: Jaffa cakes were generally displayed for sale with biscuits rather than cakes.
  • On going stale, a Jaffa cake goes hard like a cake rather than soft like a biscuit.
  • Jaffa cakes are presented as a snack, eaten with the fingers, whereas a cake may be more often expected to be eaten with a fork. They also appeal to children, who could eat one in a few mouthfuls rather like a sweet.
  • The sponge part of a Jaffa cake is a substantial part of the product in terms of bulk and texture when eaten.

Taking all these factors into account, Jaffa cakes had characteristics of both cakes and biscuits, but the tribunal thought they had enough characteristics of cakes to be accepted as such, and they were therefore zero-rated.

Who created these crazy rules!

Prompt Payment Discounts – new VAT rules

Close-up picture of an invoice

Changes to UK legislation relating to prompt payment discounts will take effect in relation to supplies made on or after 1 April 2015. From that date, the way many businesses account for VAT when offering prompt payment discounts will change.

Currently businesses can issue invoices that give details of the amount of the prompt payment discount and its terms and show the VAT due calculated on the discounted price. If the discount is not taken up HMRC has not required businesses to alter the amount of VAT invoiced and accounted for.

After the change businesses must account for VAT on the consideration they actually recieve.

HMRC are currently consulting on the implementation of this legislation and the consultation ends on 9th September.

In many ways its surprising that it hasn’t always been the case that you pay VAT on the consideration!

5 ways to pay less VAT

Businessman get idea

Many small businesses assume there is only one type of VAT scheme, the standard VAT scheme where you pay VAT on Sales and reclaim VAT on Purchases but in fact there are several schemes and they could save you money:

Cash Accounting

Using the Cash Accounting Scheme, you:

  • pay VAT on your sales when your customers pay you
  • reclaim VAT on your purchases when you have paid your suppliers

You can use the Cash Accounting Scheme if your estimated VAT taxable turnover during the next tax year is not more than £1.35 million.

Cash Accounting can improve your cashflow if your customers pay later than you need to pay your suppliers.

Flat Rate Scheme

You can join the Flat Rate Scheme for VAT and so pay VAT as a flat rate percentage of your turnover if:

  • your estimated VAT taxable turnover – excluding VAT – in the next year will be £150,000 or less.

Generally you don’t reclaim any of the VAT that you pay on purchases, although you may be able to claim back the VAT on capital assets worth more than £2,000

There’s a one per cent reduction in the flat rate percentages for your first year of VAT registration.

You can get a list of Flat Rates by following this Link

Flat Rate is easy to use and can save you money if you have a lower than average level of VAT purchases.

Annual Accounting Scheme

Using the Annual Accounting Scheme, you make either nine interim payments at monthly intervals, or three quarterly interim payments, throughout the year. You only need to complete one return at the end of each year. At that point you must pay any outstanding amount. If you have overpaid, you will receive a refund.

You can use the Annual Accounting Scheme if your estimated VAT taxable turnover for the coming year is not more than £1.35 million.

This could save you money by saving time.

Retail Schemes

Using standard VAT accounting, if you are VAT-registered then you must record the VAT on each sale in your accounting records. But with the VAT retail schemes, you work out the value of your total VAT taxable sales for a period – for example, a day – and the proportions of that total that are taxable at different rates of VAT (standard, reduced and zero) according to the scheme you are using. You then apply the appropriate VAT fraction to that sales figure to calculate your VAT due.

You do not need to record VAT separately in your accounts for each and every retail sale you make. This is particularly beneficial if you make a number of low value and/or small quantity sales to the general public. This can save you a lot of time and record keeping.

Margin Schemes

Normally you charge VAT on your sales, and reclaim VAT on your purchases. However, if you sell second-hand goods, works of art, antiques or collectibles, there may have been no VAT for you to reclaim when you bought them. You may be able to use a VAT margin scheme. This enables you to account for VAT only on the difference between the price you paid for an item and the price at which you sell it – your margin. You won’t pay any VAT if you don’t make a profit on a deal. You can still use standard VAT accounting for other sales and purchases such as overheads.

VAT Returns may soon be monthly…

3D Vat button block cube text

From January 2017 the European Commission would like to make VAT returns monthly in all member states. Currently most UK businesses file quarterly, they only file monthly if they get regular refunds.

The European Commission see this as cutting red tape, but I am not sure how going from 4 returns to 12 returns cuts red tape?

The Commission say they have received complaints from companies who do business across Europe about confusion over the frequency of returns.

The EC is hoping to introduce a single format return, with just five mandatory boxes.  This will include:

  1. input VAT;
  2. output VAT;
  3. net VAT payable;
  4. value of input transactions; and
  5. value of output transactions.

and there could be a concession for small businesses allowing them to continue to do quarterly returns.

Do you think monthly returns would be better or worse for UK Business?

Are you coding your VAT entries correctly?

3D Vat button block cube text

When you enter transactions its important to use the right tax code otherwise your VAT returns are likely to either need adjustment or contain errors, but often when entering transactions your software won’t tell you what the codes mean, here is a list of Sage codes:


T0 Zero rated transactions
T1 Standard rate
T2 Exempt transactions
T4 Sales of goods to VAT registered customers in EC
T5 Lower rate
T7 Zero-rated purchases of goods from suppliers in EC
T8 Standard-rated purchases of goods from suppliers in EC
T9 Transactions not involving VAT
T20 Sales and purchases of reverse charges
T22 Sales of services to VAT registered customers in EC
T23 Zero-rated purchases of services from suppliers in EC
T24 Standard-rated purchases of services from suppliers in EC
T25 Flat rate accounting scheme, purchase and sale of individual capital items > £2,000


There are different rates of VAT, depending on the type of goods or services your business provides. At the moment there are three different rates. They are:

  • standard rate – 20 per cent
  • reduced rate – 5 per cent
  • zero rate – 0 per cent

You can check which rate to use on the HMRC Website

UK supplier who aren’t VAT registered would use T9 in Sage.






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