Market traders offered personalised advice on VAT issue

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Market traders in Wigan Borough are being offered one-to-one advice following new tax guidance from the Government.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have advised Wigan Council that VAT of 20% should be introduced on all market rentals – with any extra tax income going straight to the Government.

The changes follow recent tribunal cases and a compliance visit from HMRC officers to Wigan.

The council today underlined that it was the responsibility of all businesses to fulfil their legal tax requirements with market traders being no different.

In order reduce the impact on traders the council has delayed implementation of VAT on rents for three months and has taken on this cost.

This allows traders to consider their own VAT registration – with guidance from the council encouraging all market traders to become VAT registered.

To address any concerns from market traders Wigan Council’s finance and business teams are offering one-to-one advice sessions.

All traders are being written to with the offer and those who would like to take it up are being encouraged to arrange via their markets officer.

A briefing for council members interested in the issue is also being arranged.

Rebecca Heron, Wigan Council’s director for economy and skills, said: “Every person and business in Wigan Borough and the country has to fulfil their legal tax requirements and market traders are no exception.

“The implementation of VAT on market rentals has been introduced following careful consideration of VAT law, recent tribunal cases and discussions with HMRC officers who were undertaking a compliance visit.

“I would stress that this is HMRC advice and not Wigan Council’s and that any income generated will not go to the council but to the Government.

“The aim of the council implementing the changes is to protect public finances by ensuring that the council or traders are not exposed to any risk of future VAT liabilities or penalties levied by HMRC.

“In recognition of traders’ concerns we have written to all market traders to offer them one-to-one meetings to give them an opportunity to discuss the implications and to offer advice to those that are not currently VAT-registered.”

Traders can also seek clarification and advice in relation to VAT registration via HMRC on: www.gov.uk/vat-registration