Our website uses cookies to enhance the visitor experience (what's a cookieCookies are small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit a website. They are mainly used as a way of improving the website functionalities or to provide more advanced statistical data.). Are you happy for us to use cookies during your visits?
Please note: continuing without making a choice equates to giving us your consent, which you can withdraw at any time via our cookies policy page.

Traps in the VAT Flat Rate Scheme

Newsletter issue - April 09.

The Taxman likes to encourage small businesses to join the flat rate VAT scheme. This scheme simplifies your VAT return as you apply the relevant flat percentage applicable for your trade sector to all your total business income each quarter, (including the VAT charged), and pay the resulting amount as VAT to the Taxman as VAT. You don't have to worry about reclaiming VAT charged on purchases.

However, the flat rate VAT scheme does not suit all small businesses. The flat rate must be applied to all business income, including interest received from business bank accounts, rents, and sales of assets where VAT was not reclaimed, such as cars or property. This means you effectively pay VAT on the gross receipts of sales on which you have not collected any VAT.

If you are a sole-trader the flat rate should be applied to any letting income you receive in your sole name, as lettings are regarded as a business for VAT purposes. Lettings undertaken as a partnership, perhaps jointly with your spouse, are not counted as part of your sole-trader business income. When you sell a let property the flat rate should be applied to the total proceeds. You can withdraw from the flat rate scheme before you sell a high value item such as a property, but you have to stay out of the scheme for at least 12 months.

Remember the flat rates for most business sectors changed on 1 December 2008, when the standard rate of VAT was reduced to 15%, so check you are using the correct flat rate for your sector.

  • Auto enrolment icon

    Auto Enrolment

    Workplace pensions rules are changing.
    Be prepared for auto enrolment, see how we
    can help and read up on our guidance notes.

    More

  • Cloud accounting icon

    Cloud Accounting

    With our online bookkeeping packages, our support
    services are only a click away.
    Discover cloud accountancy solutions to bring your finances up to date.
    More

  • Pay less tax icon

    Pay Less Tax

    Our experienced tax advisors can help you
    make the most of your options to reduce
    your tax bills.

    More

  • Make more profit icon

    Make More Profit

    From business plans to management accounts,
    our business services will ensure you are in
    control of your business finances.

    More

  • Source finance icon

    Source Finance

    Our experienced partners can guide you
    in getting the finance you need to make
    your business grow. Read our guides or
    contact us for a free consultation.
    More

  • Outsource your payroll icon

    Outsource Your Payroll

    Let us handle payroll compliance for your
    business. We can deal with HMRC on your
    behalf, and take the stress out of RTI.

    More