ABC Challenge finals: judge now! Robert K cuts through common tax cr*p…

Here in the UK, Valued Added Tax (a bit like purchase tax) drives us all nuts.

Robert K has it mastered and can calculate it perfectly for us all. Or can he? You decide…

It’s judging time for this amazing ABC Challenge that grew from a small acorn (well, blog post actually) into a superb contest of exquisite blog posts, all in 26 sentences each starting with the next letter of the alphabet. We’re posting them all here again – several per day as there are a good few – so you can view them and see what you think.

Taylor Lavati will be the final judge (it was her concept in the first place) but we need your input in the comments to share your views on how each post appeals to you. So please comment away below…

And now, in the meantime (drum roll) …

Robert Killington – VAT (the UK’s Value Added Tax)

Angst: what you suffer when you have no idea how to deal with VAT.

Blocked VAT: VAT that is unrecoverable no matter what it relates to.

Consideration: the amount paid for a supply no matter whether it is money and/or non-monetary.

Default surcharge: what you pay if you are late submitting your VAT return too often.

Exempt: the VAT treatment of supplies such as insurance.

Fun: one word that it is hard to associate with VAT.

Gift: no need to account for business gifts you give that cost no more than £50 each.

Hospitality: no VAT recoverable on the cost of providing this, except when provided to staff.

Input tax: the VAT you recover on your business expenses.

Jaffa cake: a biscuit with an identity crisis?

Keep all your VAT receipts and invoices so you can claim the input VAT.

Land and property: a complex area of VAT that needs careful handling.

Motor car: something on which your business is unable to claim the VAT if it buys one.

Notice, Surcharge Liability: what you get if you are late submitting your VAT return too often.

Output tax: the VAT that you add to your bill and then have to pay to HMRC (less the input tax).

Peace of mind is what you get when you take professional advice on how to get the answers right.

Quarterly: the most common length of a VAT return period: there is also monthly and annual.

Reduced rate: VAT on supplies such as conversion of commercial premises to dwellings.

Standard rate of VAT: currently 20%.

Taxing: what VAT is!

Unrecoverable: VAT on expenditure that relates to any exempt supplies.

Value is the amount on which VAT is calculated.

White goods: something else that you only get the VAT back on if you’re selling them.

Xports: possibly a good thing as it may be zero-rated

Yoghurt: zero-rated except when it’s frozen?

Zero-rate: the rate of VAT on books, children’s clothes, food, etc.

Don’t forget to share your views below!

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…




  1. 20%! No wonder the prices have gone up recently 😉
    Thanks for an engaging and informative post. I feel more informed about VAT now. That reminds me, where did I put those VAT receipts…

  2. Even though it’s 20 percent, somehow Robert manages to take the sting out of it with this post, doesn’t he! Brilliant.

  3. Thanks for the detailed and simple explanation.