VAT cuts in construction, who would get the benefit and why?

VAT is an end user tax, the ‘cost’ to businesses is zero. That fact is often overlooked in all debates about VAT, a business has input and output VAT, if they take in more than they charge they send the balance to Revenue, if they pay out more than they take in they are in a refund situation.

So why would dropping the VAT rate make any difference at all if the cost to the business doesn’t change as a result of it?

The normal implication is that the end user would benefit because you would have a ‘cost plus’ that would result in a lower end price, which intuitively makes sense until you consider the other issue of bottom up costs and obvious capacity for additional profit taking.

What that means is there are bottom up costs like various levies, regulations, and carry costs that make the break even point higher than it might naturally be, certainly higher than it ought to be if you go by international standards. If current costs are above break even a lower VAT …

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