Agents who have been hit with demands for unpaid VAT on credit card charges may have received them in error, Abta has revealed.
As Travel Weekly reported this month, hundreds of agents have received letters from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) demanding payment of VAT on credit card fees dating back four years.
An Abta spokesman said the association, along with accountancy firm Saffery Champness, which runs its VAT helpline, had met HMRC about the charges and the latter had agreed that in some cases officers had issued incorrect assessments.
"Abta would encourage members who have received card charge VAT bills, which they feel are in error, to refer to the guidance on Abta’s website or to contact the VAT helpline.
"This has already helped some members achieve substantially reduced VAT bills. Abta is now working with Saffery Champness to produce a simplified proposal for members to send to HMRC."
Operators have also received demands for backdated VAT on credit card charges, despite accountants saying they are not liable for any extra charge.
Martin Pooley, a VAT consultant and expert on the Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (Toms), said: "HMRC’s standard letter on credit card charges is misleading. It fails to make it clear that operators are not liable for any additional VAT."
Pooley said operators had always been required to include credit card surcharges in Toms as part of their sales revenue.
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