VAT jargon busters

Common VAT terms used by HMRC

Acquisitions: goods brought into the UK from other EU countries, formerly imports.

Corporate body: an incorporated body such as a limited company, limited liability partnership, friendly, industrial or provident society.

Distance sales: where a business in another EU country sells goods to UK consumers, e.g. Internet or mail-order sales.

Input tax: the VAT you pay on your purchases which you reclaim from HMRC.

Output tax: the VAT you charge on your sales which you pay to HMRC.

Place of supply: the country where a supply of goods or services is said to be made for VAT purposes.

Self-billing: your customer issues your VAT invoice and sends a copy to you with their payment.

Supply: selling or otherwise providing goods or services, including barter and some free provision.

Supply of goods: when exclusive ownership of goods passes from one person to another.

Taxable person: any business entity that buys or sells goods or services and is required to be registered for VAT. This can be an individual, partnership, company, club, association or charity.

Taxable supplies: all goods and services you sell or otherwise supplied which are liable to VAT at the standard, reduced or zero rate, whether or not you are registered for VAT.

Taxable turnover: the total value, excluding VAT, of the taxable supplies you make in the UK. Excludes capital items like buildings, equipment, vehicles or exempt supplies.

Tax period: The period of time covered by your VAT return, usually quarterly.

Tax point: the time when a VAT liability arises. For goods, this is usually when you send the goods to a customer or when they take them away. For services, this is usually when the service is performed.


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