News comes last night that with the dropping of the VAT hikes on carvans and ‘cooling’ pasties comes a big VAT hike on Skip hire to pay for it. That will help the construction industry i’m sure.
If the Treastury really wants to find a VAT anomaly that few would complain about why is it that crisps and Monster Munch are standard rated, whislt doritos, pringles, wheat crunchies, poppadoms, twiglets, pork scratchings and just about every other wheat, corn or pork based crunchie is zero rated, including yes Skips. It is a list of adhoc rulings made over many years many of which created arguments about whether or not they met the exempted item when it was first drafted. This leads to some hilarity in the caselaw where Mcoys packed crisps with a dip and argued that it was no no longer standard rated as it no longer fell within a ‘without further preparation’ rule.
…giving the word its ordinary meaning, we are satisfied that dipping a crisp into a pot of salsa cannot amount to ‘preparation’ in any normal sense of the English language. The purchaser of the Appellant’s product is required to do no more than open a packet of crisps and a pot of dip. He may, or may not, dip the crisps into the pot. The process of conveying crisp to mouth, whether or not it pauses at the pot, is, in our view, commonly and correctly described as eating; it is not preparation.
Ah the important matters our courts concern themselves with. The Court of Appeal
The ‘made from’ question would probably be answered in a more relevant and sensible way by a child consumer of crisps than by a food scientist or a culinary pedant. On another aspect of party food I think that most children, if asked whether jellies with raspberries in them were ‘made from’ jelly, would have the good sense to say ‘Yes’, despite the raspberries.
So what is the exemption most are using. Well ‘exempted item 5’ applies to ‘potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs, and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch’
And you will note most of the exempted items are made from wheat or corn. Hence a silly tax rule distorts the market giving wheat based snacks a boost at the expense of potato base ones. The chancellor lost a potential populsit card by losing the opportunity to say he was levelling the playing field on behalf of Walkers and Golden Wonder against the assault of american wheat based pseudo crisps.