Historic UK VAT Rates

I happened to need to know the historic VAT rates for the UK since the 1980s to ensure normalised data in 30 years of invoices I’ve been processing for a customer. The figures were quite hard to pin down so I thought I’d publish them here:

Standard UK VAT Rate from 1979 to 1991

  • 18/06/1979 to 18/03/1991 – 15 %

Standard UK VAT Rate from 1991 to 2008

  • 19/03/1991 to 30/11/2008 – 17.5 %

Standard UK VAT Rate from 2008 to 2009

  • 01/12/2008 to 31/12/2009 – 15 %

Standard UK VAT Rate from 2010 to 2011

  • 01/01/2010 to 03/01/2011 – 17.5 %

Standard UK VAT Rate from 2011 to Present

  • 04/01/2011 to Present – 20 %

I hope this is a little easier to find for people.


1979 Rate Increase

VAT Rate Tables

I’m a small business consultant enabling small business owners to achieve sustainable growth, whilst working part-time at Tees Valley Arts. For more about me personally see peterneal.co.uk
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  • The UK VAT rates are very much higher compared to other countries.

  • Johnpadget

    This data is very hard to find indeed. Thank you Peter. Seo Bangalore, I agree, Worth considering how HMCE may be trying to obfuscate the vat charged both here and in Europe because the general trend of course is up to the top rates in each country. That is, if Estonia has 25% vat on luxury items and the population stomachs it then the high rate becomes a benchmark for other EEC countries sooner or later.  John.

  • Nick

    Thank you.

  • Thanks

    This is SO helpful. Thank you!

  • Sandra Baker

    Thank you. Thus ends the frustration of much wasted time!

  • Nish

    Thanks for the data.
    High VAT rates are probably a good thing. The government has to raise revenue using some sort of taxes, and economically speaking, VAT taxes have the least distortionary impact on an economy. (Income/payroll taxes discourage people from working, capital gains taxes discourage people from saving, VAT taxes discourage people from consuming – and we already consume too much). As long as the essentials are zero-rated (food, etc), I’d hope VAT climbs to 25% sometime.

  • JD
  • JD