VAT Flat Rate Scheme – Limited Cost Traders

As noted before in summary a change to the Flat Rate VAT scheme was announced in the Autumn Statement. This change comes in to effect on the 1st of April 2017.

This change is intended to target businesses on the Flat Rate Scheme who would only be reclaiming a minimal amount of VAT if they were calculating VAT as normal. Thes businesses will be classed as Limited Cost Traders. A new rate of 16.5% for the flat rate scheme will be introduced which potentially means that people will be better reverting to the standard VAT schemes.

HMRC has defined a Limited Cost Trader as:

A limited cost trader will be defined as one whose VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:

  • less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period
  • greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1000 per annum if the prescribed accounting period is one year (if it is not one year, the figure is the relevant proportion of £1000)

Goods, for the purposes of this measure, must be used exclusively for the purpose of the business but exclude the following items:

  • capital expenditure
  • food or drink for consumption by the flat rate business or its employees
  • vehicles, vehicle parts and fuel (except where the business is one that carries out transport services – for example a taxi business – and uses its own or a leased vehicle to carry out those services)

These exclusions are part of the test to prevent traders buying either low value everyday items or one off purchases in order to inflate their costs beyond 2%.

So as you can see this is definitely targeted at contractors and the like who are operating through Limited Companies with low costs.

If you are on the Flat Rate Scheme and would like some help transitioning please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be writing to HMRC on behalf of our clients who are affected and helping them transition if they need to.

HMRC reference is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-aggressive-abuse-of-the-vat-flat-rate-scheme-technical-note/tackling-aggressive-abuse-of-the-vat-flat-rate-scheme-technical-note