VAT scam - be on your guard

Opinion

VAT scam - be on your guard

With the rise in the VAT rate to 20 per cent on 4 January, it won't surprise readers to know that VAT has become an even more appealing target for scammers.

According to the BBC's Moneybox, VAT cheats are adding VAT to bills even though they are not registered for VAT and therefore have no need (or right) to add VAT; the law only allows those registered for VAT to charge VAT. The 'VAT' that they are charging of course goes into their back pocket and not to HMRC. 

The problem of illegally charged VAT affects not only private individuals but also businesses.

The solution is quite simple - check that the trader or supplier is registered for VAT with an EU online VAT checker. It costs nothing but yields instant results.

This was first published in January 2011

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