2. Where you see VAT

In shops

Any VAT due is already included in the price of something you buy in a shop. No tax is added when you pay.

Some shops offer tax-free shopping for visitors and EU residents who leave the EU for 12 months or more.

In adverts, catalogues and price lists

This depends on who they’re aimed at. If they’re for:

  • the general public only, they’ll show you a price including VAT
  • businesses as well as consumers, they might show the price with VAT and without
  • businesses only they don’t usually include VAT, which is charged on top of the price shown

On bills and receipts

Sometimes VAT is shown on a separate line. This doesn’t mean you’re paying extra - it just shows how much tax is included in the price.

Invoices from suppliers like builders, painters and decorators must show a separate amount for VAT and their VAT registration number.

How VAT is worked out

When someone charges you VAT they multiply their selling price by the VAT rate to calculate the amount of VAT to charge.

They then add this to the selling price to give you the price you actually pay - this is called the ‘gross’ price.