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Business Tax  •  Coronavirus Advice  •  VAT

How to apply the temporary 5% VAT rate – Update for the hospitality sector

By RJP LLP on 17 July 2020

Tim Martin of Wetherspoons has been campaigning for years for the VAT to be reduced in respect of hospitality and shortly after he sold five million pounds worth of his shares, he got his wish. Because on 15th July, a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT was introduced for certain supplies of hospitality, hotel/holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions.

This cut in the VAT rate from the standard rate of 20% will have effect from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 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.

Affected supplies

The following supplies will benefit from the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT:

  • food and non-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, for example, in restaurants, cafes and pubs
  • hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic beverages
  • sleeping accommodation in hotels or similar establishments, holiday accommodation, pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities
  • admissions to the following attractions that are not already eligible for the cultural VAT exemption such as:
    • theatres
    • circuses
    • fairs
    • amusement parks
    • concerts
    • museums
    • zoos
    • cinemas
    • exhibitions
    • similar cultural events and facilities.

Where admission to these attractions is covered by the existing cultural exemption, the exemption will take precedence.

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 12 January 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.

Hospitality

If you supply food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on your premises, for example, a restaurant, café or pub, you’re currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, when you make these supplies between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 you will only need to charge 5%.

You will also be able to charge the reduced rate of VAT on your supplies of hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic drinks.

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Catering, takeaway food (VAT Notice 709/1).

Hotel and holiday accommodation

You will also benefit from the temporary reduced rate if you:

  • supply sleeping accommodation in a hotel or similar establishment
  • make certain supplies of holiday accommodation
  • charge fees for caravan pitches and associated facilities
  • charge fees for tent pitches or camping facilities

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Hotels and holiday accommodation (VAT Notice 709/3).

Admission to certain attractions

If you charge a fee for admission to certain attractions where the supplies are currently standard rated, you will only need to charge the reduced rate of VAT between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

However, if the fee you charge for admission is currently exempt that will take precedence and your supplies will not qualify for the reduced rate.

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in VAT: Admission charges to attractions.

The Flat Rate Scheme

If you are a small business and use the use the Flat Rate Scheme to simplify your VAT calculations you should be aware that certain percentages have been reduced in line with the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT.

More information can be found in VAT Flat Rate Scheme.

The Tour Operators Margin Scheme

If you are a business that buys in and resells travel, accommodation and certain other services, and you act in your own name, you may operate the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations.

Further information about how the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT will affect your calculations can be found in Tour Operators Margin Scheme (VAT Notice 709/5).

Accounting for supplies that straddle the temporary reduced rate

In most cases, you will simply account for VAT at 5% for supplies made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. However, there may be situations where you receive payments or issue invoices before 15 July 2020 for supplies that take place on or after 15 July 2020.

partners@rjp.co.uk

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