Businesses get extra time to update VAT prices

Businesses are to get additional time in which to update price labels after the rate of VAT reverts to 17.5 per cent.

Previously, the rules, under the Price Marking Order, gave businesses two weeks in which to adjust their prices.

But the government has announced that, instead of two weeks, businesses will be granted four weeks in which to amend their shelf and product labels following the reversion to the 17.5 per cent standard rate of VAT at midnight on 31 December.

The change in the rules is a permanent one and will cover any future alterations to the rate of VAT.

Stephen Robertson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “It’s come late but this change will give retailers more time to achieve this huge, costly exercise without undermining their key mission, especially at sales time – serving customers.

“Repricing thousands of items and updating IT systems is a major undertaking and will have to be done during most retailers’ busiest and most commercially important time of year. Retailers will be doing all they can to minimise any customer confusion by relabelling quickly but they now have the option of leaving the job until later in January when shopper numbers are lower and staff are under less pressure.”