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Top Tips when claiming VAT back

By 1st February 2015 updated 2nd April 2020";

VAT – Top Tips when claiming VAT back

First of all it is worth noting that there are three rates of VAT that you might encounter when conducting your business

Standard Rate which is currently 20%

Zero Rate which is technically VAT-able but the rate is set to 0%

Reduced Rate applies to some goods and services e.g. home energy and is 5%

If an invoice has NO VAT on it – i.e. your supplier is not registered for VAT – and if he is, he should display his VAT registration number – then you can’t claim anything back.


Air or sea travel, train and bus travel do NOT have VAT attached to them so you can’t claim anything back. Tolls for bridges, tunnels roads and car parking operated by public authorities do not charge VAT. BUT privately operated car parks or tolls do charge VAT at 20%

Printed Goods

is quite a complex area. You might wonder when you get an invoice from your printer why some items are charged and others are not. Leaflets generally are exempt but they must have a significant amount of text, be a single piece of paper of 230 gms or less and stand alone. Business cards, letterheads, posters and postcards do attract VAT at the current rate. Then books, catalogues, magazines and newsletters are exempt – whew it’s a minefield but when faced with an invoice from your printer, be careful about what you reclaim. He’s most likely got it right so follow his calculations

Insurance, banking and lending

are exempt. Watch out for your leased vehicle(s) - you can only claim 50% of the VAT back

Safety Equipment for industrial use attracts 5% VAT

The list is much much bigger and you can enter the maze here or just call Roddy or Joyce who will keep you right.


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