“Whenever the talk turns to age, I say I am 49 years plus VAT.” Lionel Blair

/ Tax

Value Added Tax (VAT) – You all know what it is and although it’s a tax we don’t see we know it’s there and we know how complicated it can be.

It was the idea of the French who brought it to life in 1954 to replace the purchase tax which charged different rates – the idea was to have a flat rate which would be simpler to handle – well they got that one wrong didn’t they? It was in 1973 that it found its way to the UK thanks to then Chancellor Anthony Barber on April Fools’ Day and has since raised over £1.6tn – who’s the fool now? But what was thought to be a simple and easy way to collect tax has become incredibly difficult and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier.

The Jaffa Cakes “Is it a cake or a biscuit saga” is a great example of how mind boggling VAT can be and with hundreds of goods and services either zero-rated or exempt – believe me when I say it’s not as simple as you think, how did a tax so young get so complicated?

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AIMS Accountants for Business are the largest independent association of professionally qualified accountants in the UK specialising in accountancy for small, local and independent businesses. AIMS are no ordinary accountants and we are more than just number crunchers!