‘VAT was once a simple tax’ by Les Howard, partner in vatadvice.org, a specialist VAT practice based in Cambridgeshire

Les Howard charts the march of VAT from ‘simple’ to extremely complex – and explains why a return to simpler times would benefit both the Revenue and the taxpayer

On 27 July 1972, the Finance Act 1972 arrived. Among other things it implemented Value Added Tax, to come into force on April Fools’ Day 1973. There was a single standard rate of 10%. In its first year it raised the princely sum of £1bn.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that VAT would be a simple tax, a phrase which has echoed down the years.

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