How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask bigduckontax Your Own Question
bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 4805
Type Your Tax Question Here...
bigduckontax is online now

I am a business register for vat we have a sub contractor who

Customer Question

I am a business register for vat we have a sub contractor who is not we pay him and pass his cost onto our customers can i charge vat on this service
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  bigduckontax replied 3 years ago.

Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.


Not only can you, but you must! Sub contractor bills you GBP 100. You pay him; book keeping entry is debit Cost of Sales credit Cash/bank. You bill customer; debit Debtors 120 credit Sales 100 credit Output VAT 20. In this simplistic case the profit and loss account would read sales 100, cost of sales 100, thus net profit nil. Every quarter you would pay HMRC and reduce the VAT account to zero. That in very basic terms is how VAT works. You charge VAT on the total of every invoice raised or cash received. In this case there is no Input tax only Output tax.


I do hope I have helped. VAT can be a confusing tax to operate. I know, I can remember its introduction in the 70s. If you are still worried please come back to me and I will approach from another tack.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Really confused as i thought this was class as something else as its a service our customer needs we pay for it first and then put it on our invoice to the customer but didnt think we put vat on it when we didnt have vat on it in the first place. a rechargable service

Expert:  bigduckontax replied 3 years ago.

No, it's actually very simple, but it can be difficult to get one's head around. Assuming that you only make standard rated supplies then you would add VAT to every invoice raised. If it was a cash sale then if you received 120 quid say, 100 would go to sales and 20 the Output VAT.


Everything that you buy for use in the business, or nearly everything (this sub contractor is a case in point), will have VAT added. This VAT you post to Input VAT then every quarter the difference between the two ledger entries is paid to or received from HMRC. Of course some businesses make zero rated supplies, eg omnibus companies. In such cases their Input VAT far exceeds the odd standard rated output VAT and they are always in a reclaim situation. Indeed, because of this they actually make VAT returns every month instead of quarterly.


Have I helped, please, or are you still confused? It may be easier if you don't try to link up what you receive and what you pay until the position falls out automatically when you settle VAT quarterly with HMRC.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I may not be making myself clear our sub contactor is not vat register so no vat on his invoice we then pass this cost onto the client and this is my deliema is should we be vat the cost on our invoice

Expert:  bigduckontax replied 3 years ago.
Let us suppose that your sub contractors bill was GBP 100. You pay that straight and there will be no entry in your Input VAT tax ledger heading. Subsequently you raise an invoice against your customer and included within that invoice is the ton you have already paid out. The VAT you charge your customer is the full amount of the invoice including that hundred and that is all there is to it. That is how VAT works. You, being registered for VAT, must charge VAT on every penny of sales you make; what you pay out is irrelevant. You don't worry if you are charging on a rail fare which carries no VAT so why concern yourself with another bill which doesn't carry VAT either?