Tuesday 10 February 2009

Chocolate madness in the VAT office

So M&S are entitled to a full refund on all the VAT they have paid on chocolate teacakes.

Reading this article, I paged down to the link "How VAT works on cakes and biscuits".

I'm astonished at the pettifogging complexities this throws up.

I used to think it was daft that chocolate buttons were standard-rated while chocolate sugar strands were zero-rated.

But when I read that a gingerbread man is standard-rated if he's decorated with chocolate unless the decoration amounts to "no more than a couple of dots for eyes"... and that a biscuit sandwiched together with chocolate (e.g. a Bourbon cream) is zero-rated, but a biscuit coated in chocolate (e.g. a chocolate HobNob) is standard-rated...

Honestly, who comes up with rules complete to such tiny, minor details? For goodness' sake, it's a chocolate biscuit!!

Some people obviously don't have enough real work to do!


  1. Whilst certainly realising VAT can be an extremely complex area, this is a great example to provide business when they expect accountants and others to know all the ins and outs off the top of their heads.

    I suppose creating such rules helps keep some people "self-employed" in public service.

    What would be truly amazing is where everything would be at if all this time available was actually used productively.

  2. Agreed, David.

    Or alternatively, if you're with a client at your office, point to the row of fat tomes from Tolley's, FL Memo, etc. on your shelf and ask, "Do you expect me to know all those off by heart then?"




Please post your comments here. This blog is fully moderated. Any spam or malicious comments will not be published.