VAT: A Primer

by Sarah Laing
access120 days access
cpd hours4 CPD hours

This will enable you to:

  • Get to grips with the basic principles of VAT
  • Understand how the UK system works and the various rates in force
  • Know when and how to register or deregister for VAT
  • Understand practical issues businesses might face with VAT
  • Familiarise yourself with popular VAT schemes

This course has been revised and is up to date for 2020-21

VAT affects many people and businesses across the globe. The penalties for getting it wrong are severe, administratively burdensome and can also be extremely costly. At first glance, it can look complicated - not to mention time-consuming. However, taken one step at a time, the rules governing VAT are quite straight-forward and easy to navigate.

This course is an introduction to VAT, giving you an overview of what VAT is, how the system works, and the issues that need to be addressed. By the end of the course you will have a good understanding of the basic principles which will enable you to approach VAT-related issues with confidence.

Introducing VAT

  • What is VAT?
  • Who does it affect?
  • When does it take affect?
  • What impact will it have?

Registration and de-registration

  • When do you register for VAT?
  • Why would you register voluntarily?
  • Is non-registration preferable?
  • How do you register?
  • When should you deregister?
  • How do you deregister?


  • What is time of supply?
  • How does invoicing work?
  • What are the record-keeping requirements?
  • What are the penalties for getting it wrong?

Prompts and nudges

  • What is a VAT number?
  • What special VAT schemes exist?
  • How do you prepare for MTD?
  • What further help is available?

Sarah Laing is a Chartered Tax Adviser. She has been writing professionally since 1998 when she joined CCH Editions as a Senior Technical Editor, contributing to a range of highly regarded publications including the British Tax Reporter. She became Publishing Manager for the tax and accounting portfolio in 2001 and later went on to help run CCH Seminars (including ABG Courses and Conferences).

Sarah originally worked for the Inland Revenue in Newbury and Swindon Tax Offices, before moving out into practice in 1991. She has worked for both small and Big 5 firms, and now works as a freelance author providing technical writing services for the tax and accountancy profession.

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ACCA partner with to provide high quality CPD for members. As an ACCA member, you are required to complete at least 40 relevant units of CPD each year, where one unit is equal to one hour. 21 units must be verifiable; the other 19 can be non-verifiable.

Verifiable CPD
Your course counts as verifiable CPD, if you can answer "yes" to these questions:

  1. Was the learning activity relevant to your career?
  2. Can you explain how you will apply the learning in the workplace?

You select courses that meet these criteria, and as you complete each course you get a CPD certificate so you can provide ACCA with the evidence that you undertook the learning activity.