Common VAT mistakes

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Common VAT mistakes
  • On-street meters
  • Business entertainment
  • Exports
  • VAT invoicing
  • VAT rates
  • Land and property
  • VAT on mileage
  • Bad debts
  • Import VAT
  • Management charges

This guidance note will assist businesses and their advisers in identifying common VAT mistakes. The guidance note will be especially useful when completing a VAT return or undertaking a VAT review.

The information laid out below is also summarised in the Checklist ― common VAT mistakes.

On-street meters

Common mistake:

Reclaiming VAT on on-street meter parking

VAT treatment:

Businesses should only reclaim VAT if they are in possession of a valid tax invoice or a receipt showing a VAT registration number. On-street parking meter charges are not subject to VAT so no VAT receipt will be issued. Therefore, no VAT can be reclaimed.

Relevant guidance notes:

Flowchart ― procedure for claiming input tax

Business entertainment

Common mistake:

Recovering VAT on UK business entertainment

VAT treatment:

No VAT is recoverable on business entertainment expenses

Relevant guidance notes:

Business and staff entertainment and Flowchart - recovering VAT on entertaining expenses


Common mistake:

Failing to meet the export zero-rating VAT requirements

VAT treatment:

The goods must be exported to a non-EU country and the business must have proper commercial evidence that the goods were physically exported to a non-EU country. If the goods are exported by the customer or their agent then additional requirements must be met before the supply can be zero-rated.

Relevant guidance note

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