Bit of a problem for the feminists

EU VAT review could end Britain’s exemption on food, medicine and children’s clothing

Where will that campaign about VAT on tampons be when absolutely everything has to pay VAT?

29 thoughts on “Bit of a problem for the feminists”

  1. Thanks for the help with the “OUT” vote you E U pricks.

    The E U in action: Stupidity battles Arrogance and both win.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    They need to run a campaign explaining that 1. it is not a tax, it is a gift to the British public and 2. women don’t want to be like Google so they ought to pay whatever the government thinks is just.

    Best of all, they could rename the tax VAG. Feminists are all in favour of those.

  3. What makes you think they are sufficiently connected to reality to change their campaign one iota?

    Books will still be VAT free, won’t they?

  4. EU-member finances must be doing brilliantly if they’re considering raising taxes on basics. Well done those lads.

  5. They’ll find another “example” of outrageous patriarchy I’m sure. Come on peeps, none of this is real, the purveyors of this crap couldn’t care less about these issues, it’s just a lever to elect some proto-Marxists…

  6. Also, congratulations to them for only taking 8 years to realise that epub might be worth encouraging as a way for the masses to educate themselves more cheaply. The way libraries used to.

  7. JGH, actualy I don’t think they can, my understanding is that items that have a VAT rate of 0% are a special exemption negotiated into the EU treaties, the lowest rate of VAT that can be charged for an item not on a specific, Brussels approved, list is 15%, exceptions to that rule i.e 5% or 0% have to be written into the law and if they’re not standard rate (20% in the uk not allowed to be lower than 15% anywhere in the EU) applies.

    Funny how I don’t remember any pro EU types ever stating that joining the EU would mean tax rates being set in brussles when we joined “a free trade area”

  8. I’m basing my understanding on my brother’s greengrocers in the 1990s and the 1.5-inch thick VAT regs book he had to refer to. He eventually got fed up with it and went through the regs page by page and eliminated everything from his sales list that was VAT listed.

  9. jgh

    Your obviously not greengrocer material you’re self as you have no idea how to use apostrophe’s properly in word’s.

  10. Speaking as an ex-VAT Inspector (thank god), there are three ways that VAT is effectively at 0%, all of which have different effects on the accounts:

    Zero Rate – VAT is charged at a rate of 0%. This is a UK wide special exemption agreed to get the UK into the EU. Historically these items were not subject to sales taxes in the UK and the pols felt that they would be lynched if the EU forced them to tax them on joining. There is a specific list in the treaty which can never be changed (hence VAT on ebooks…).

    (Exports to non-EU countries are also zero rate, but for all EU members not just the UK).

    Exempt – VAT is not charged on a sale. EU wide, generally on items where is was too hard to separate charges from the goods being traded (eg finance) or areas that were mainly government run anyway (education, health). Even the EU wasn’t daft enough to make governments charge themselves tax.

    Outside the scope of VAT – no VAT is charged because you are not selling something covered by the regulations (eg selling your car second hand).

    Fun for all…

  11. If I understand this correctly, the EUtopia charges VAT on food, medicine and children’s clothes, but the UK has a special exemption?


    Clearly, in order to be more compassionate and progressive, we must add at least 5% to the cost of poor people’s food, medicines and their kid’s clothes. Coz we are the good guys, right?

  12. rossocepeco said:
    “JGH, actualy I don’t think they can, my understanding is that items that have a VAT rate of 0% are a special exemption negotiated into the EU treaties”

    Yes, correct; the 0% was part of our negotiation on entry, that’s the only reason we’re allowed it.

    We can’t add anything else to the 0%, without EU agreement
    (which makes the tampon campaign ridiculous).

    There are also some exemptions (which is different to 0%) in EU VAT law, but as BPE says they’re mostly either too complicated to apply VAT to (e.g. finance) or tend to be government-run (e.g. education). There are some 0%s as well, but only in specific circumstance (mostly cross-border sales), and there are some things that are outside the scope of VAT or, as Pellinor said, some things that are not supplies at all for VAT purposes. But all of those are governed by EU law (Directives or ECJ decisions); we have no control over them.

    Other than that, the minimum is either 15% or, if the product is on a special EU list, 5%. Again, we’ve no control over what’s on the 5% list (although we don’t have to apply it; we can charge full VAT if we wish).

    But we can’t charge less than those EU minimums, unless they’ve given us a specific derogation to allow us to charge less (such as our 0% on food).

    Interestingly we have to keep the 0% or we lose it. That is why domestic fuel is charged at 5% – the Major government briefly (for about a week, I think) increased it to full VAT, then changed their minds but found that the EU didn’t allow us to reduce the rate to 0%.

  13. Of course VAT should be charged on practically everything. For a full exegesis see the Mirrlees Review, Chapter 7.

    The only reason it isn’t – and the UK applies zero and reduced rates to far more goods and services than most other
    countries – is that any attempt to rationalise the system provokes howls of rage from whatever special interest groups is affected (forget tampons, remember Greggs?) and the political establishment cravenly retreats.

    The only way the Government can achieve any progress is to blame someone else for any changes, and assure voters that their hands are tied and that they’re proceeding only with the greatest reluctance.

    So I say hoorah for the EU’s VAT Review. It has my full support.

  14. Chum: That’s because you are E U sucking dross.

    The abolition of VAT is long overdue and it would bring a huge surge in the sales of British Goods worldwide.

    Another good reason to leave.

  15. The abolition of VAT is long overdue and it would bring a huge surge in the sales of British Goods worldwide.

    How so? British Goods [sic] are not subject to (European VAT) when sold worldwide, now. Unlike (most) sales taxes, VAT isn’t embedded in the cost of exports, and therefore makes exported goods more competitive, as compared to a non-VAT sales tax system; return to such a system would hinder, rather than help exports.

  16. Mr Ecks said:
    “The abolition of VAT is long overdue and it would bring a huge surge in the sales of British Goods worldwide.”

    As dcardno said, UK VAT isn’t charged on exports, and any UK VAT paid in the supply chain is (generally) refunded. If the destination country has VAT then that will generally be charged on the UK goods when they are imported (whether or not it is in practice depends on how good their customs officers are), but that will be the same irrespective of whether the UK has VAT.

    The only change in that if we left the EU is that a UK supplier wouldn’t have to charge German VAT on sales to Germany; instead the Germans would charge it on import. So UK suppliers might get a slight advantage if the German customs officers were incompetent. There will also be an administrative saving, since the UK suppliers won’t have to operate several different EU VAT systems. But that’s all; it’s a slight advantage rather than a magic bullet.

    And that’s only on B2C sales – VAT doesn’t matter on most B2B sales because the customer will reclaim it.

    There are plenty of reasons for leaving the EU, but that isn’t one of them.

  17. Goods sold in the UK are subject to VAT–so if you are producing to export but buy something in the UK as part of your production process you pay VAT and have it refunded–or have the transaction noted as not due VAT? I’m sure all that adds nothing to production costs.

    Lets be rid of the whole fucking caper. It would lighten the load all round and mean less cash in the pockets of political scum.

  18. Ecks:
    1) Yes, VAT “adds nothing” to production costs. Returns are simple and relatively cheap to process, and the input tax credit is very effective: it is a non-distorting tax and does not burden exports. On all counts, VAT is superior to other ad valorem taxes.
    2) The overall level of taxation is a completely different issue (which you didn’t mention in your original spittle-flecked claim). Unless that goes down, either other sales taxes are coming in to replace VAT, and they will make British products more expensive (thus hurting exports), or income tax rates are going up (ditto). In the first case, politicians normally cannot resist meddling in sales taxes and they become an administrative nightmare – which will also increase business overhead. This, in turn, will probably marginally increase the cost of goods on offer, which will also reduce the export competitiveness of British goods.

  19. I agree with CR: VAT is a sensible tax, but differing rates distort the market. If you want parents to be able to afford more clothes for their children, pay them more child benefit, instead of giving a tax break to small adults but not to large children.

  20. There are NO “sensible” taxes. They are all thieving and they all empower evil scum.

    If you want parents to look after their kids to a higher standard–stop stealing from both.

    As for the overall level of taxes –zero is the only one acceptable.

  21. In your eutopia how would the state pay for the army? How would public highways be paid for? (Not just turnpike-able trunk roads, but the side streets? You know, the vast majority of the road network) How would the police be paid?
    Ok, I can see some public facilities could be paid for by the consumer. Want the state to prosecute crimes? Somebody has to pay up. Want your house fire put out? Show us your fire insurance certificate. Want your neighbour’s house fire put out before it burns your house down? Sorry, tough luck, he’s not insured.

  22. Just go with the NZ VAT system (GST here, but same thing). 15% on pretty much everything other than financial services and rents. No exemptions; no lower rate for whatever some politician wants to bribe their voters with; no complexity about whether something is a cake or a biscuit – 15% straight.

    VAT/GST is a pretty good tax – and you have to have taxes to run an economy. It distorts far less than some (Corporation Tax) and is far more efficient to collect than all the rubbish that you would have to replace it with.

  23. No, VAT is a very bad tax.

    And look at all the hours of manpower wasted on understanding, then debating, the differences between exempt and 0-rated, which could be used to do something more productive.

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