VAT Watch – are you sure the VAT rise affects you, Play.com?

December 23rd, 2010 8 Comments By Paul Smith

Following our plea last week, avid Bitterwallet readers are on the lookout for companies trying to hoodwink consumers with regards to VAT increases in January. It seems Play.com are pushing their pre-Christmas sale, with notices all over the website, urging customers to “Shop now to BEAT THE VAT INCREASE while you can”.

Bitterwallet Play VAT Watch   are you sure the VAT rise affects you, Play.com?
As avid Bitterwallet reader Christopher points out:

“Unless they recently moved their entire operations a hundred miles north, Play.com are based in Jersey and do not charge VAT on anything they sell. Therefore their prices, unless they decided to increase them for no particular reason, will not increase due to the UK VAT rise.”

HMRC only charge duty and VAT on imports over £18 (and then they’re not so stringent as to check all imports) so it can’t even be argued that VAT will definitively affect any customer. You can continue to order plenty of items from Play.com without ever paying more – unless the prices mysteriously rise in January. Nothing like a little misdirected and unsubstantiated scaremongering to whip up consumer interest before Christmas.

Comments (8) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Mark December 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    If Plays turnover is over £70,000 within the UK (which it inevitably will be then) then they will be charging VAT on there sales (irrespective of the face they’re in the Channel Islands)

  2. Posted by Mark C December 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    According to their website its UK customers who are liable for VAT http://www.play.com/Help.html?page=playterms#jump-01

    Play wouldn’t pay VAT for customers to then pay it would they??

  3. Posted by Shhh December 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Shut up moaning, it will alter how people shop. VAT will be charged on a lot of Play.com products, as they do sell items over the threshold.

  4. Posted by Grammar December 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    … then they will be charging VAT on their sales …

  5. Posted by Denny December 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    They pre-pay the VAT for UK customers. If you look at a Play.com address label they have an authorisation number to pre-pay UK VAT & . I’m not sure whether the £18 starting limit will still apply but they’re definitely paying VAT on some orders. If they didn’t prepay then there’d be hordes of Play.com buyers getting charges from the Royal Mail and HMRC. HMV do the same and I imagine The Hut group will too.

  6. Posted by Steve Thompson December 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    It is called LVCR Low value consignment relief and means that Play can ship to the UK VAT free for any item sold for under £18, they also pay no VAT when they purchase them.

    The government is currently looking into this loophole so grab the bargains while you can!

  7. Posted by Tim December 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    What Denny says. Play pre-pay VAT on anything over £18. They don’t have to, but HMRC would be taking a far dimmer view of Jersey based operations if they didn’t as Royal Mail are not consistent with collecting the fees (plus customers would be pissed off when they keep getting slapped for RM’s outrageous “handling fee”).

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