My business, if that is what it is, has become large enough for me to fear that HMRC might take an interest in my activities. May I explain what I do and then you can write to me with your advice? If you think a face to face meeting would be better I can be found in most decent sized department stores from mid September to 24 December.
First of all I am based in Greenland but I do bring a stock of goods, mainly toys, to the UK and I distribute them. Am I making supplies in the UK?
If I do this for philanthropic reasons, am I a charity, and if so, does that mean I do not pay VAT?
The toys are of course mainly for children and I wonder if zero rating might apply? I have heard that small T shirts are zero rated so what about a train set – it is small and intended for children. Does it matter if adults play with it?
My friend Rudolph has told me that there is a peculiar rule about gifts. He says that if I give them away regularly and they cost more than £150 I might have to account for VAT. Is that right?
My next question concerns barter transactions. Dads often leave me a food item such as a mince pie and a drink and there is an unwritten rule that I should then leave something in return. If I’m given Tesco’s own brand sherry I will leave polyester underpants but if I’m left a glass of Glenfiddich I will be more generous and leave best woollen socks. Have I made a supply and what is the value please? My feeling is that the food items are not solicited so VAT might not be due and, in any event; isn’t food zero-rated, or is it catering? Oh, and what if the food is hot?
Transport is a big worry for me. Lots of children ask me for a ride on my airborne transport. I suppose I could manage to fit 12 passengers in. Does that mean my services are zero-rated? If I do this free of charge will I need to charge air passenger duty? Does it matter if I stay within the UK, or the EU? My transport is the equivalent of six horse power and if I refuel with fodder in the UK will I be liable for fuel scale charges? After dropping the passengers off I suppose I will be accused of using fuel for the private journey back home. Somebody has told me that if I buy hay labelled as animal food I can avoid VAT but if I buy the much cheaper bedding hay I will need to pay VAT. Please comment.
Can I also ask about VAT registration? I know the limit is £85,000 per annum but do blips count? If I do make supplies at all, I do nothing for 364 days and then, in one day (well night really) I blast through the limit and then drop back to nil turnover. May I be excused from registration? If I do need to register should I use AnNOEL Accounting? At least I can get only one penalty per annum if I get the sums wrong.
I would like to make a claim for input tax on clothing. I feel that my red clothing not only protects me from the extreme cold but it is akin to a uniform and should be allowable. These are not clothes that I would choose to wear except for my fairly unusual job. If lady barristers can claim for black skirts I think I should be able to claim for red dress. And what about my annual haircut? That costs a fortune. I only let my hair grow that long because it is expected of me.
Insurance worries me too. You know that I carry some very expensive goods on my transport. Play Stations, Mountain Bikes, i-pads and Accrington Stanley replica shirts for example. My parent company in Greenland takes out insurance there and they make a charge to me. If I am required to register for VAT in England will I need to apply the reverse charge? This seems to be a daft idea if I understand it correctly. Does it mean I have to charge myself VAT on something that is not VATable and then claim it back again?
Next you’ll be telling me that Father Christmas isn’t real……….
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!