As covered in the Autumn Statement newsletter a new VAT flat rate of 16.5% applies from 1 April 2017 for “limited cost traders”. This is being introduced as HMRC believe that the current system is being abused by some businesses providing their labour but who have very few costs.
The flat rate scheme was originally introduced as a simplification measure for small business as they merely pay a percentage depending on the type of business to their VAT inclusive turnover. For many businesses this process takes about 5 minutes but in future they may have to add up all the input tax on their expenses and deduct that from the output tax on their sales which will often take a lot longer!
Take for example a training consultant who bills his clients £100,000 a year, £120,000 inclusive of VAT. Using the flat rate scheme he currently pays 12% to HMRC = £14,400. If the VAT inclusive cost of his goods for the year is less than £2,400 (2%) excluding capital expenditure, food, fuel, vehicle costs then he would have to pay £19,800 to HMRC! It would almost certainly be beneficial for him to stop using the flat rate scheme.
If you are currently using the VAT flat rate scheme contact us to discuss whether the changes will apply to you.