UK VAT rates exist at three levels and depending on the type of supply which is made; the appropriate band of Valued Added Tax should be applied to that sale.
The VAT standard rate of tax is now 20 percent effective from 4th January 2011. This reversion replaces the previous VAT rate of 17.5% which became effective from 1st January 2010. Preceding this, a 15% rate was in place following the Chancellor's Pre Budget speech on 24 November 2008.
The 20% VAT rate is by far the most common fraction used in the calculation of the charge applicable to taxable supplies in the UK.
The rate applies to the sale of most goods and services in the UK.
The reduced rate is currently 5 percent and is levied on utility services such as gas and electricity.
The zero rate for Valued Added Tax often causes some confusion amongst preparers of returns. The reason for this is that the zero rate is interpreted as the same as not being applicable to VAT at all.
Although multiplying a net amount by zero is mathematically the same as not performing any calculation altogether, there is a significant difference with regards to submitting a return or deciding on whether VAT registration is applicable at all..
Zero rated items are included in the submission figures whereas items which are exempt are excluded.