Hospitality VAT rates – what is going on? Can I use Flat Rate and pay No VAT? Reply

Serviced Accommodation/Furnished Holiday Lets (FHL) are currently enjoying special rates of VAT

The government made an announcement on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021.

These changes are being brought in as an urgent response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support businesses severely affected by forced closures and social distancing measures.

That rate is set to change to a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022

What is the Flat Rate scheme?

The Flat Rate Scheme is designed to simplify VAT because the Flat Rate % is applied to your turnover including VAT.

It doesn’t change the VAT rate charged to the client it just helps to calculate the VAT to be paid to HMRC.

You can join the Flat Rate Scheme if:

  • you’re a VAT-registered business
  • you expect your VAT taxable turnover to be £150,000 or less (excluding VAT) in the next 12 months
  • you get a 1% discount on the flat rate if you’re in your first year as a VAT-registered business.

You must leave the scheme if:

  • you’re no longer eligible to be in it
  • on the anniversary of joining, your turnover in the last 12 months was more than £230,000 (including VAT) – or you expect it to be in the next 12 months
  • you expect your total income in the next 30 days alone to be more than £230,000 (including VAT)

What are the Flat Rates?

Hotel or accommodation before 15 July 202010.5
Hotel or accommodation from 15 July 2020 to 30 September 20210
Hotel or accommodation from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 20225.5

Why would Flat Rate VAT help?

Example You bill a client for £1,200 including VAT, so thats £1,000 plus 20% VAT.

You’re a Holiday Let, so the VAT flat rate for your business is 0%.

Your flat rate payment will be 0% of £1,200, so nothing to pay

This is great news for Furnished Holiday Lets especially if they are just crossing the £85,000 VAT Threshold

Most Holiday Lets can’t increase their prices to incorporate VAT when they cross the VAT threshold because they would be uncompetitive so VAT is direct hit to their profits.

On the basis that the accommodation fee is unchanged but now includes a VAT element, if Flat Rate is used and the rate is 0% then no VAT is paid to HMRC.

That may not work for every business, it depends on whether you have a high level of VAT expenses which would offset the VAT and could result in a refund for example when you first register you may be able to reclaim VAT on pre-registration costs. Flat Rate restricts the recovery of expenses, you cannot reclaim the VAT on your purchases – except for certain capital assets over £2,000

Its also a problem if you’re classed as a ‘limited cost business’ if your goods cost less than either:

  • 2% of your turnover
  • £1,000 a year (if your costs are more than 2%)

This means you pay a higher flat rate of 16.5%.

steve@bicknells.net

Who should get your tips? or should we stop tipping? Reply

Tip jar

Over 150,000 business are in the Hospitality Sector and they employ over £2m staff, tipping is common place, so the government launched a consultation on 2nd May 2016 which will run till 27th June 2016 to seek opinions on tipping, gratuities, cover and services charges.

The Government wants everyone to be paid fairly so the proposals focus on:

Option 1:
Ensure transparency to consumers that discretionary payment for service is just that – ‘discretionary’.
Option 2:
Ensure workers receive a fair share from discretionary payments for service.
Option 3:
Increase transparency for consumers and workers regarding the treatment of discretionary payments for service.
Troncs can save you Tax

If your employees receive tips directly from your customers and are allowed to keep them, then you do not need to do anything for PAYE tax or NICs. There are no NICs due on the money, and the tax due is the employee’s responsibility. Your employees should declare the money to HMRC, who will usually adjust their tax code to collect any tax due.

A tronc is an arrangement for pooling and distributing tips and service charges and the person who operates the tronc is known as a troncmaster. If your employees use a tronc you must tell HMRC who the troncmaster is so that they can set up a PAYE scheme for the tronc.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/e24.pdf

Tips are outside the scope of VAT when genuinely freely given. This is so regardless of whether:

• the customer requires the amount to be included on the bill
• payment is made by cheque or credit/debit card
• or not the amount is passed to employees.

Restaurant service charges are part of the consideration for the underlying supply of the meals if customers are required to pay them and are therefore standard rated.
If customers have a genuine option as to whether to pay the service charges, it is accepted that they are not consideration (even if the amounts appear on the invoice) and therefore fall outside the scope of VAT.
Further information is available from: Notices 700 The VAT guide and 709/1 Catering and takeaway food

steve@bicknells.net

How Troncmasters can keep your tips NI and VAT Free 4

Tip jar

If your employees receive tips directly from your customers and are allowed to keep them, then you do not need to do anything for PAYE tax or NICs. There are no NICs due on the money, and the tax due is the employee’s responsibility. Your employees should declare the money to HMRC, who will usually adjust their tax code to collect any tax due.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/payroll/special-pay/tips.htm

A tronc is an arrangement for pooling and distributing tips and service charges and the person who operates the tronc is known as a troncmaster. If your employees use a tronc you must tell HMRC who the troncmaster is so that they can set up a PAYE scheme for the tronc.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/e24.pdf

Tips are outside the scope of VAT when genuinely freely given. This is so regardless of whether:

• the customer requires the amount to be included on the bill
• payment is made by cheque or credit/debit card
• or not the amount is passed to employees.

Restaurant service charges are part of the consideration for the underlying supply of the meals if customers are required to pay them and are therefore
standard rated.
If customers have a genuine option as to whether to pay the service charges, it is accepted that they are not consideration (even if the amounts appear on the invoice) and therefore fall outside the scope of VAT.
Further information is available from: Notices 700 The VAT guide and 709/1 Catering and takeaway food

steve@bicknells.net