The temporary VAT rate

The temporary 5% VAT rate


Basic outline

  • The Government are reducing certain VAT rated supplies down from the 20% standard rate down to a 5% temporary rate.
  • It covers the period from 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021.
  • Aimed at the hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation sectors as well as admissions to certain attractions.

Food and drink

The temporary rate can apply to:

  • The supply of food and non-alcoholic drinks for the consumption on the business premises such as pubs, cafes, restaurants and similar establishments.
  • The supply of hot takeaway food and hot (non-alcoholic) takeaway beverages.

The temporary rate does not apply to:

  • Alcoholic drinks. The supply remains standard rated.
  • Any supplies of food and drinks that are supplied as part of a supply of catering services for consumption off the premises. The supply remains standard rated.

Hotel and holiday accommodation

The temporary rate can apply to:

  • The provision of sleeping accommodation in hotels, inns, boarding houses, B&Bs, private residential clubs, hostels, serviced flats (other than those for permanent residential use).
  • The supply of seasonal pitches for caravans, including supplies of facilities provided in relation to the occupation of the pitches.
  • The provision of pitches for tents and camping facilities.

Admission to certain attractions

The temporary rate can apply to:

  • Admission fees to attractions like theatres, museums, fairs, zoos, amusement parks, shows, studio tours, factory tours, cultural events.
  • If the main supply is the admission fee and there is an incidental supply included as well, the whole supply will attract the temporary reduced rate.

Please note:

  • If the admission fee is currently VAT exempt that takes precedence over the temporary measure.

Other issues to note

  • If you are using the Flat Rate Scheme then certain percentages within the Scheme will be reduced by HMRC to take account of the temporary measure.
  • The temporary reduced rate will have an impact on those business using the Tour Operators Margin Scheme

Contact us to discuss any of these changes or other ways we can help you save tax.

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