4. Work out your flat rate
The VAT flat rate you use usually depends on your business type. You may pay a different rate if you only spend a small amount on goods.
You get a 1% discount if you’re in your first year as a VAT-registered business.
If you spend a small amount on goods
You’re classed as a ‘limited cost business’ if your goods cost less than either:
- 2% of your turnover
- £1,000 a year (if your costs are more than 2%)
This means you pay a higher rate of 16.5%. You can calculate if you need to pay the higher rate and work out which goods count as costs.
If you aren’t a limited cost business, you use your business type to work out your flat rate.
Flat rates for types of business
|Type of business||Current VAT flat rate (%)|
|Accountancy or book-keeping||14.5|
|Any other activity not listed elsewhere||12|
|Architect, civil and structural engineer or surveyor||14.5|
|Boarding or care of animals||12|
|Business services not listed elsewhere||12|
|Catering services including restaurants and takeaways||12.5|
|Computer and IT consultancy or data processing||14.5|
|Computer repair services||10.5|
|Entertainment or journalism||12.5|
|Estate agency or property management services||12|
|Farming or agriculture not listed elsewhere||6.5|
|Film, radio, television or video production||13|
|Forestry or fishing||10.5|
|General building or construction services*||9.5|
|Hairdressing or other beauty treatment services||13|
|Hiring or renting goods||9.5|
|Hotel or accommodation||10.5|
|Investigation or security||12|
|Labour-only building or construction services*||14.5|
|Laundry or dry-cleaning services||12|
|Lawyer or legal services||14.5|
|Library, archive, museum or other cultural activity||9.5|
|Manufacturing fabricated metal products||10.5|
|Manufacturing not listed elsewhere||9.5|
|Manufacturing yarn, textiles or clothing||9|
|Mining or quarrying||10|
|Real estate activity not listed elsewhere||14|
|Repairing personal or household goods||10|
|Retailing food, confectionery, tobacco, newspapers or children’s clothing||4|
|Retailing pharmaceuticals, medical goods, cosmetics or toiletries||8|
|Retailing not listed elsewhere||7.5|
|Retailing vehicles or fuel||6.5|
|Sport or recreation||8.5|
|Transport or storage, including couriers, freight, removals and taxis||10|
|Wholesaling agricultural products||8|
|Wholesaling not listed elsewhere||8.5|
*‘Labour-only building or construction services’ means building services where the value of the materials supplied is less than 10% of the turnover for those services. If more than this amount, the business is classed as ‘General building or construction services’.
What you pay
You calculate the tax you pay by multiplying your VAT flat rate by your ‘VAT inclusive turnover’.
Example You bill a customer for £1,000, adding VAT at 20% to make £1,200 in total.
You’re a caterer, so the VAT flat rate for your business is 12.5%.
Your flat rate payment will be 12.5% of £1,200, or £150.
VAT inclusive turnover is different from standard VAT turnover. As well as business income (such as from sales), it includes the VAT paid on that income.
Call the VAT Helpline if you have any questions about the Flat Rate Scheme.