Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UK

Value Added Tax (VAT) in the United Kingdom is a type of general consumption tax that is collected incrementally, based on the increase in value of a product or service at each stage of production or distribution. It is applied to most goods and services that are bought and sold for use or consumption in the UK. 

Here are some key points about UK VAT:


VAT Rates: The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%. There are also reduced rates for some goods and services, such as 5% for home energy or children's car seats, and a zero rate for things like food and children's clothes. Some items are exempt from VAT.


Registration Requirements: Businesses with a taxable turnover that exceeds the VAT threshold (which was £85,000 as of the last update) must register for VAT. Businesses below this threshold can register voluntarily.

How it works

How It Works: Once a business is registered for VAT, it must charge VAT on its goods or services and can reclaim any VAT it has paid on business-related goods or services. This means that the tax is ultimately paid by the end consumer.


Filing VAT Returns: VAT-registered businesses need to file VAT returns, typically every quarter, reporting the amount of VAT they have charged and the amount of VAT they have paid.


Impact of Brexit: Following Brexit, there have been changes to the way VAT is applied to goods and services supplied between the UK and the EU. Businesses dealing with imports and exports between the UK and EU countries have to comply with new rules and processes.

Imports and Exports

VAT on Imports and Exports: VAT rules on imports and exports can vary depending on whether goods are coming from within the EU or outside it. This includes dealing with VAT deferment accounts, import VAT, and reclaiming VAT paid on imported goods.

VAT is a significant part of the UK's tax system and affects most businesses and consumers within the country. For specific advice or recent changes, consulting the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website or a tax professional is recommended.