The Chancellor has announced a temporary VAT rate cut from 20% to 5% to help increase demand in the hospitality and tourism sector which has been severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The reduced rate will come into effect from Wednesday 15 July 2020 and will apply until Tuesday 12 January 2021.
The initial announcement advises the 5% reduced rate will apply to the following:
- The sale of hot food in restaurants, pubs, cafes and similar premises
- Hot take-away food (most cold take-away food is zero rated already)
- Accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites
- Attractions such as cinemas, zoos and theme parks
The reduced rate will not apply to sales of alcoholic beverages.
Precise details of the scope of the new reduced rate are not currently available but HMRC have advised further guidance will be published in the coming days. It is not at present clear precisely what will constitute similar premises, for example will this include member’s sports clubs or the full extent of the supplies which will benefit from the reduced rate.
It is, however, likely businesses will need to separately record sales at the different VAT rates where this was not previously necessary, for example sales of alcoholic beverages and meals. This may require changes to tills or other systems used to record sales. Alternatively we would expect one of the VAT Retail Schemes could be used to calculate sales at different VAT rates.
In addition, diners will be entitled to a 50% discount off their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per head, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or eligible business. The discount applies from Mondays to Wednesdays.
Businesses should be able to register for the scheme from Monday and will be reimbursed each week in August. Funds should arrive in their bank account within five working days.
Details of how VAT is to be accounted for on the discount payments is also due to be confirmed shortly.
For further information on yesterday’s announcements, please click here.