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Southampton: VAT headache for Hampshire businesses says HWB

By Dan Teuton
16 August 2012

VAT expert Alan Rolfe of HWB  is warning all businesses advertising their prices to the public to ensure they include VAT, after a landmark ruling.

Rolfe, of leading Hampshire independent accountants HWB, says that although the ruling from the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) was made in relation to hotel room promotions, it applies across the board.

The ASA upheld a complaint over “misleading” prices for hotel rooms in London advertised on websites that didn’t include VAT. The ASA backed the complaint, despite the adverts clearly stating ‘excludes VAT’. This was because the adverts were likely to be seen by consumers who would have to pay VAT.

The ruling follows another in May of this year relating to spa prices, when the ASA reiterated that VAT-exclusive prices could only be given if all consumers to whom the price was addressed paid no VAT or could recover VAT. Also that marketing quoting VAT-exclusive prices needed to state prominently the amount or rate of VAT that was payable.

“This has implications for any Hampshire business advertising to consumers,” said Alan. “The ASA is sticking to its guns and insisting that either the full price be displayed or the VAT rate or amount of VAT due be clearly stated. And this applies to all adverts apart from those broadcast, including print and those on the web.

“Businesses should act now or risk falling foul of the advertising authorities.”

Resources: HWB website


Alan Rolfe - HWB

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