VAT refers to a tax that the government receives when people buy goods and services in the United Kingdom. HMRC determines the rate of this tax. Buyers do not pay a separate tax. The price they pay for any good or service that qualifies already contains the amount of tax to pay. The price includes the tax. In certain instances, it is possible to obtain refund of the tax paid, if you supply supporting documents.
In the United Kingdom, the HMRC has created three different types of VAT rates, which include standard rate, reduced rate and zero rates. Currently, standard rate stands at 20 percent and they apply on most goods as well as services in the UK. On the other hand, reduced rate is at 5 percent and is applicable on items such as gas or electricity for home and car seats for children.
Some of the goods and services on which the zero rates apply include basic food items excluding takeaway meals and all meals in restaurants. Magazines, newspapers and books also attract zero rates. Shoes and clothing for children are zero-rated. Tampons, pads and all types of sanitary protection attract zero rates. Installing energy-saving items attracts zero rates as well.
Contacting VAT Customer Service
The telephone line to call and receive answers to any VAT question you have is 0300 200 3700 if you are in the United Kingdom. If you struggle with speech and hearing impairments, then you should use the textphone service by dialing 0300 200 3719. On the other hand, if outside the United Kingdom, then you should call +44 2920 501 261.
VAT Contact Tips
Before placing a call and asking general enquiries, check that you have your registration number as well as postcode ready. What you should avoid doing while making the call is paying the value added tax or agreeing to pay over the phone. The opening times during which you should make the call are from 8am to 6pm between Monday and Friday.
The offices remain closed during bank holidays and on weekends. On the other hand, the best times to call are from 8am to 11am between Monday and Friday. This is because the offices are less busy thus increasing your chances of getting the attention and quality of service or answer that your issue deserves.
Lastly, do not be afraid to contact the Online Services Helpdesk for assistance regarding how to use or register for the Value Added Tax online services.