The trend for businesses to provide services digitally or online has accelerated significantly in recent years, particularly following the COVID pandemic. The Value Added Tax (VAT) and Goods and Sales Tax (GST) compliance obligations of businesses providing digital or electronically supplied services (ESS) are increasing. Tax authorities increasingly require overseas businesses to register for and charge local VAT/GST on their B2C supplies of ESS.
HMRC have recently updated guidance in Notice 703 to clarify what is considered to be satisfactory evidence to zero rate exports. Businesses that export goods should review the guidance to ensure their record keeping meets these standards.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, presented the Spring Budget to the House of Commons on 15 March 2023. This article looks at the main points of interest from a VAT and Customs perspective. The full set of Spring Budget 2023 documents are available here.
A new VAT-related payment scheme for businesses that buy second-hand cars in GB and move them to Northern Ireland or the European Union for resale is to be introduced. This puts Northern Ireland dealers in a comparable financial position to their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol the VAT second-hand car margin scheme could no longer be used by dealers for these sales.
New UK VAT penalty regime
HMRC is introducing a new VAT penalty regime for VAT return periods starting on or after 1 January 2023. All businesses should familiarise themselves with the changes, particularly as certain businesses could be subject to penalties for the first time.
In the Autumn Statement Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the VAT registration and deregistration thresholds would be frozen for a further 2 years from April 2024. The current thesholds of £85,000 (VAT registration) and £83,000 (VAT deregistration) have now been in place since April 2017.
A report by the Tax Policy Associates think-tank has found that following the abolition of 5% VAT on women’s sanitary products only a 1% price reduction was passed on to consumers.
A new penalty regime for VAT comes into effect for VAT return periods starting on or after 1 January 2023. Businesses should familiarise themselves with the changes to avoid getting caught out by some of the finer detail.
UPDATE: The new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has reversed this tax measure announced by his predecessor.
The tax gap for the 2019/20 tax year is 5.3%, which represents £35 billion, according to statistics recently published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The total tax gap for Value Added Tax (VAT) is £12.3 billion.