Value Added Tax 2019/20

VAT rates

VAT rateVAT fraction
Standard rate20%1/6
Lower or reduced rate5%1/21
Zero rate0%


  1. Lower rate applies to a small range of supplies, including domestic fuel and power and some conversions of residential property.
  2. Zero rate applies to a range of supplies, including some types of food, hard-copy books and newspapers (not electronic), new houses and children’s clothes. VAT is charged at a zero rate to the customer, but the supplier can recover VAT on costs.
  3. Exempt supplies include many land-related supplies, insurance, finance, education, health and welfare, and non-profit sports clubs. No VAT is charged to the customer, but the supplier can’t recover VAT on costs.

VAT thresholds

From 1.4.2019From 1.4.2018
Registration – turnover for last 12 months£85,000£85,000
Deregistration – turnover next 12 months83,00083,000


  1. An unregistered business must register for VAT if it has made taxable supplies that equal or exceed the registration threshold in the last 12 months, up to any month-end, or if it expects to exceed that threshold in the next 30 days alone. Taxable supplies include reduced rate and zero-rated sales.
  2. A VAT-registered business can apply to deregister if it can satisfy HMRC that taxable supplies in the next year will not exceed the deregistration threshold.
  3. From 1 April 2019, the vast majority of businesses above the compulsory registration threshold must comply with the Making Tax Digital (MTD) provisions. These mean that businesses will have to keep their records digitally for VAT and provide VAT return information through MTD functional compatible software.
  4. Most VAT returns are prepared for three-month periods, and must be filed electronically within seven days of the end of the month following the return period.
  5. Payment of VAT must be made electronically, and must be received by HMRC by the same deadline as the return or be paid by direct debit.
  6. From 1 October 2019, a construction industry business making a supply to another such business will not usually charge output tax. Instead, the customer will account for the output tax itself through the reverse charge mechanism.
  7. If you supply automated digital or broadcasting services to non-business customers in other EU countries, you may need to be registered for and charge VAT in the other country.

Small business schemes

Annual turnoverJoiningLeaving
Flat-rate scheme (FRS)£150,000£230,000
Annual accounting1,350,0001,600,000
Cash accounting1,350,0001,600,000


  1. When using FRS, the VAT paid to HMRC by the business is a fixed percentage (based on business category) of ‘FRS turnover’ rather than the net of output tax over input tax.
  2. Businesses in first year of VAT registration are entitled to a 1% discount on the normal FRS percentage for their business category.
  3. Under FRS, input VAT is not recoverable, unless it relates to the purchase of a capital asset costing £2,000 or more (including VAT).
  4. Under annual accounting, the business files a single VAT return each year instead of one every three months.
  5. When using the cash accounting scheme, the business only pays VAT to HMRC when its customers have paid the business, but it can only recover VAT on expenses actually paid for, rather than accrued.