Industry sector:

Ice cream parlour: VAT repayments

VAT repayments may be made to VAT registered businesses if they pay out more in VAT on their purchases than they charge on their sales.

This might happen if, for example, you spent a lot on equipment and stock for your new ice cream business but didn't take much money in the early days of trading. You complete a VAT Return every quarter, setting the VAT you have had to pay against the VAT owed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). If a repayment is due to you it will normally be paid direct into your business bank account a month or so after you have submitted the Return claiming it.

Once your business is up and running bear in mind that you may regularly be spending a lot on zero rated goods like basic ingredients for dishes on your menu and perhaps for ice cream making, but charging VAT on all of your sales (eat-in meals, snacks and drinks served in a cafe are standard rated for VAT, as are hot take-away food and take-away ice creams).