Coronavirus: Support from HMRC

Reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. The temporarily reduced rate now runs till the end of March 2021.

Eligible attractions for the temporarily reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption

  • It applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises
  • It applies to hot takeaway food and drinks
  • It applies to all holiday accommodation from camping through to hotels
  • It applies to standard VAT rated attractions
  • Flat Rate VAT Scheme rates will be reduced to take into account the reduction
  • If you buy in and resell travel, accommodation and certain other services can use the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations

If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact:

    - Telephone: 0300 200 3700.  Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261

    - Email

Guidance for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions 

Guidance for takeaway food

Guidance for accommodation

Guidance for attractions with admission charges


Deferring VAT And Income Tax Payments

All Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments will automatically be deferred for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
  • Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
  •  VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal. 
  • For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.


Updated information added to the Deferral of VAT payments guidance

HMRC has produced new guidance in relation to the Chancellors announcement that these businesses that deferred VAT payments from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will not now have to pay the full amount by the end of March 2021. Under the arrangements announced yesterday, businesses will have the option to make smaller interest-free payments up to the end of March 2022. To take advantage of this, businesses will have to opt-in to the new arrangements.



Interest-Free Time to Pay Arrangement From HMRC

Businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

HMRC Business Support Helpline: 0800 024 1222 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday, 8am to 4pm)




Business Rates Holiday

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England has been confirmed.

  • Eligible businesses include properties used for; shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, assembly and leisure, hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
  • The Local Government Association and the Tourism Alliance have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance, but it is felt that they fall into the intended category. Councils are being asked to give consideration to the premises listed below for inclusion in their local schemes.
  • The Government will introduce a business rate retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
  • There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.
  • You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.
  • Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority through the links we have provided or the new Business Support Helpline: 03333 602300 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6.30pm)
  • Guidance for local authorities is available here