June 15, 2024

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What Is VAT? And When Do You Have To Pay It?



VAT, or Value-added tax, is a consumption tax. It’s charged to a business on the value that it adds to goods and services. It was originally put in place to help even out the disparity between rich and poor by making the rich pay more vat as they spend more of their income.

What is VAT?

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied on goods and services sold in the European Union (EU). VAT is charged at each stage of the production and distribution process, from the manufacture of goods to their final sale to the consumer. The amount of VAT payable on a good or service is calculated as a percentage of the sale price.

VAT is levied on most goods and services sold in the EU, with a few exceptions such as food, books, and pharmaceuticals. The standard VAT rate in the EU is 21%, although some member states have reduced rates for certain items such as hotel stays and restaurant meals.

 businesses registered for VAT must charge VAT on their sales, and pay any VAT due to the tax authorities. They can also reclaim any VAT paid on purchases made for their business. This system is known as ‘input tax’.’

When Do You Have To Pay VAT?

If you are registered for VAT, you must charge it on most of the goods and services that you supply in the UK. This includes goods and services from other EU countries.

You do not have to charge VAT on some items, including:

– most food and drink

– books, newspapers and magazines

– children’s clothes and shoes

– some medical products and aids 

If you’re not sure whether you should be charged VAT on an item, contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

How to Pay VAT Online

If you’re registered for VAT, you can pay VAT online through the government website. The process is simple and straightforward:

  1. Go to the government website and log in with your VAT number and password.
  1. Click on the “Make a Payment” link.
  1. Enter the amount you want to pay and your payment method (credit/debit card or bank account).
  1. Click on the “Submit” button.

Your payment will be processed immediately and you’ll receive a confirmation email.

Creating a VAT Account

To create a VAT account, you’ll need to have a few pieces of information handy, including your business name and address, your VAT registration number, and the dates of your VAT return periods. You can find all of this information in your Welcome Pack from HMRC.

Once you have all of the required information, you can set up your VAT account by following these steps:

  1. Log in to HMRC Online Services using your Government Gateway ID.
  1. Click on the “VAT” tab and then select “Create/Update VAT Account.”
  1. Enter your business name and address, as well as your VAT registration number.
  1. Select the date range for your first VAT return period. This is typically a quarter (3 months), but may be different for some businesses.
  1. Choose how you would like to file your VAT returns – online or by paper – and then click “Submit.”

How Does VAT Work?

If you’re registered for VAT, you charge it on most of the goods and services you supply in the UK. You then send the VAT you’ve charged to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

When you register for VAT, HMRC will give you a VAT registration number. This is made up of your business name, address and postcode. You must show this number on all your invoices.

You can register for VAT online or by filling in form VAT1 and sending it to your local Tax Office.

The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%. There are some items that are exempt from VAT, such as children’s clothes and books. There are also some items that are subject to a reduced rate of 5%, such as energy-saving materials.


VAT is a value added tax that is imposed on certain goods and services in the European Union. If you are doing business in the EU, it is important to be aware of VAT and when you need to pay it. In general, you will need to pay VAT on any goods or services that you sell within the EU. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, so it is always best to check with your accountant or financial advisor to be sure.