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40 years of VAT

Daniel Lyons
VAT partner Deloitte
Ron Nattrass
Senior manager Deloitte

On All Fools’ Day 1973 the UK got its first taste of a new tax: VAT. It had been introduced in the House of Commons the previous year by the chancellor Anthony Barber who famously described it as a ‘simple tax’. The introduction of VAT was of course a condition of the UK’s entry into what was then called the Common Market. Care and management of the new tax was given not to the Inland Revenue but to a very very different organisation: HM Customs & Excise (who had previously administered purchase tax). This decision was to have a very marked influence...

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