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another cafe thread: it's UR to order take out and then sit in right?

(31 Posts)
mileend2bermondsey Wed 03-Jun-15 15:42:54

Whenever I am in a coffee shop and order drinks and snacks to eat in I am paying an extra 20%. Yet others come in order take out, knowing full well they will be sitting in. This to me is unfair and UR behaviour? It's also environmentally unfriendly as they are usually given extra bags, packets for pastries/take away cups which then get immediately thrown in the bin. Am I silly to be narked by this?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 03-Jun-15 15:43:56

Yes and I'm suprised the cafe people don't say something. People are effectively stealing by getting a 20% discount they're not entitled to.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Wed 03-Jun-15 15:45:58

It's illegal too, isn't it?

Betsyblue Wed 03-Jun-15 15:47:32

Are you sure you know they're having it at the takeout discount?

I always sit in but have my coffee in a take out cup as I hate the stupid tall glasses. I often sometimes also have something to take home for later, so I have that in a takeout bag too. Still pay the full price!

I don't know why you're so concerned about it- it's for the cafe to care about really! It's cheeky if people are doing it solely to get the discount, but it's up to the cafe to do something about it.

mileend2bermondsey Wed 03-Jun-15 15:49:41

It's tax avoidance really isn't it?

knittingdad Wed 03-Jun-15 15:52:53

The cafe want to be pretty careful with this, because it would be VAT avoidance and they could get in a lot of very expensive trouble as a result.

Blu Wed 03-Jun-15 15:55:52

The difference on price is usually the VAT on 'sit in' v no-VAT on takeout.

BlinkAndMiss Wed 03-Jun-15 15:57:09

I order my food and drinks in take out cups but tell the staff I'm sitting in. Not sure why you think the staff wouldn't be aware of people who say they're taking out when they're not. It's pretty obvious!

knittingdad Wed 03-Jun-15 15:57:56

So the question then is, should you report the cafe for possibly committing VAT fraud?

CarriesBucketOfBlood Wed 03-Jun-15 15:59:10

The 20% is tax, isn't it? Not money that would've actually gone to the café?

I do this reasonably often. Sometimes I want to sit down for fifteen minutes and wait for a friend, then get up and carry on drinking my drink while I wander around the shops.

GrandadGrumps Wed 03-Jun-15 16:00:06

In general only cold items are VAT free for takeaway anyway, and even some of them aren't.

Somebody above mentioned coffee - there's VAT on it whether you eat in or take away.

CarriesBucketOfBlood Wed 03-Jun-15 16:07:12

knittingdad Judging by the threads I've read on here, and my general impression of the culture at HMRC, I highly doubt that someone is going to go after a café because Ms Smith changed her mind and sat inside to drink her tea on a Saturday afternoon and therefore £0.20 is owed in tax.

PtolemysNeedle Wed 03-Jun-15 16:09:01

I always ask for takeaway cups in coffee shops, and sometimes sit down for five minutes to rearrange shopping bags, send a text or more likely, have a cigarette outside if it's permitted.

I can't see the issue tbh, it's not like I've ever sat there long enough for the coffee to cool down and have it completely finished, and after paying close to three pounds for a cup of coffee, I'm not about to feel guilty about it.

LurkingHusband Wed 03-Jun-15 16:10:08

It's worth bearing in mind that thanks to gorgeous George, the VAT regulations around eat-in/takeway along with "hot"/cold became quite Kafkaesque, thanks to the pasty revolt.

Feel free to read HMRCs official take on it (I haven't because when I did accounts, I had enough insanity to last a lifetime).

I wonder if this explains the fact that cold coffee drinks have become a "thing" in the past .... ooooo .... 5 years ?

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 03-Jun-15 16:10:27

Coffee from a coffee shop is taxed at standard rate whether it's drink in or take out. Some cold items are zero rated, but not all. If there's a difference between eat in/take out prices for drinks it's just a matter between the cafe and the customer. The customer may think it's a matter of not wanting the glass, cutlery etc. and just be jusing "take-out" as short cut to getting their drink in a paper cup rather than being deliberately engaged in tax avoidance.

VAT is a different issue, but not that major an ethical one given the arbitary nature of VAT categories. Anyone who has ever worked for cash, or paid cash for a service (babysitting for instance), "forgotten" to declare the extra bottle of wine they brought back from abroad or bought duty free from a friend who's been abroad, etc. has probably engaged in more morally significant tax evasion.

knittingdad Wed 03-Jun-15 16:10:39

@GrandadGrumps - I didn't know that. I thought it was a takeaway/restaurant sort of distinction. Does that mean you pay VAT on takeaway fish and chips?

[Does make my previous comment about VAT fraud rather cobblers]

knittingdad Wed 03-Jun-15 16:10:42

@GrandadGrumps - I didn't know that. I thought it was a takeaway/restaurant sort of distinction. Does that mean you pay VAT on takeaway fish and chips?

[Does make my previous comment about VAT fraud rather cobblers]

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 03-Jun-15 16:11:35

Carries - 20p in VAT on a coffee? Where do you live? I want coffe for a quid!

LurkingHusband Wed 03-Jun-15 16:12:35


Is this the HMRC (artist formerly known as C&E) that pursued a (losing) case about cake and biscuits for decades ?

When I first learned of the legal doctrine of "unjust enrichment". Better summarised as "despite the fact you have paid millions in tax unjustly, teh court won't refund a penny".

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 03-Jun-15 16:12:38

They brought in VAT on hot takeawy food a decade or so ago.

LurkingHusband Wed 03-Jun-15 16:20:48

I have a memory of VAT on takeaways being older than 10 years ... in fact wasn't it one of the first things to be affected by joining the EEC ?

CarriesBucketOfBlood Wed 03-Jun-15 16:21:10

Boom I can get a coffee for £1.20 from a little café on my way to work. I know it'd bad maths, I just assumed the VAT was around 20p.

Lurking There is definitely a difference between pursuing a theoretical debate about what is taxable, and pursuing individual businesses about individual purchases and whether they were taxable. Wouldn't they require evidence in every case? Completely impractical!

TheWildRumpyPumpus Wed 03-Jun-15 16:22:28

I'm another who always asks for my drink in a takeaway cup but tells the barista I'll be drinking in.

Then I can up and leave halfway through!

zazzie Wed 03-Jun-15 17:08:04

It is unreasonable to get your free machine coffee from booths and then take it into the cafe to drink it. Especially when you sit in the best seats.

zazzie Wed 03-Jun-15 17:08:58

It is unreasonable to get your free machine coffee from booths and then take it into the cafe to drink it. Especially when you sit in the best seats.

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