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Plumber quoted us vat-free

(77 Posts)
cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:50:52

We've just had our bathroom redone. We got several quotes - the lowest could also do it the soonest, so we went with him. We are pleased with the work. However, he just spoke to DH about payment, and asked if we wanted to pay VAT. Was very surprised when he said yes. DH just told me that the initial quote was verbal (I gently pointed out that in future it was important to get all quotes in writing!), so I'm pretty sure that we're going to end up paying 15% more than we were originally quoted.

It's still a fair price, so we would have used the guy anyway - but I'm really annoyed that he thought this was acceptable behaviour. Should I try to negotiate a discount on the grounds that his original quote wasn't legit? Should I report him to HMRC?

Stigaloid Thu 11-Jun-09 09:51:52

Most quotes are exclusive of VAT so i don't think he did anything wrong here.

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:52:44

Why would you quote a non-business customer exclusive of VAT?

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:54:49

He was asking if we wanted to pay exclusive of VAT as well though - definitely not on!

theyoungvisiter Thu 11-Jun-09 09:55:04

this is fairly normal - all our recent quotes have been done VAT free. If the quote breakdown doesn't specify VAT then you should double check.

Sorry. However the implication that he would allow you to not pay the VAT is a bit dodge. Still I suppose you could be business customers for all he knows.

callalilies Thu 11-Jun-09 09:55:43

A quote not including VAT is one thing, but specifically asking whether or not you want to pay VAT is v dodgy imo.

rubyslippers Thu 11-Jun-09 09:55:50

i would try to negotiate

quotes are always IME, inclusive of VAT

or the 15% is addes to the quote so you see "two" prices

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:56:24

He came and redid our bathroom. In our house. I think he knew we weren't a business!

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:58:53

rubyslippers - yeah, that's how I'd expect to see it too. I didn't actually see any of the quotes - I got bored of the whole thing after the first trip to the bathroom shops, so left the whole thing to DH. Have just asked him whether the other quotes included VAT.

theyoungvisiter Thu 11-Jun-09 09:59:09

yes but cornflake if you were working from home you could theoretically claim that (disclaimer: I think! Not a tax lawyer).

All he did was ask whether you paid it - I don't think you could report him to HMRC for querying, whatever you felt the implication to be.

And the rest, as others have said, is standard practice.

timmette Thu 11-Jun-09 10:00:26

You were happy with his work - there are so few tradesmen who do a good job - why report him - you could cost him his buisness and what do you gain.
Always get a written quote.

SouthMum Thu 11-Jun-09 10:03:03

He hasn't done anything wrong as far as I can see. For all he knows you could be a Limited Company / business working from home....

timmette Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:08

Good point SouthMum - we have a ltd and work from home..

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:16

Possibly if I was working from home as an MP. In general, I'm not sure that the allowances for wear and tear would cover redoing a bathroom. Possibly with a very good accountant. wink Even then I'm pretty sure you could only claim a proportion.

Anyway - you still have to pay the VAT, even if you're a business. You just get to reclaim it. So he had no reason to ask whether we paid VAT.

morningpaper Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:25

Businesses pay VAT, so I don't understand the question. How did you understand the question?

Verbal quote - I would assume to add VAT.

MrsHappy Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:29

By law unless he explicitly said that the price is exclusive of VAT that means that the price is inclusive of VAT, regardless of what his ill-informed industry practice might be.

Him asking whether you want to pay VAT is just hilarious. If you said "no" I am pretty sure it is him who would be on the hook should the Revenue come calling. Paying VAT is not an choice.

I don't know what I would do TBH. These days I probably would try for some sort of cheeky discount but would be careful to avoid blackmailing the poor chap.

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:05:54

Being a LTD company doesn't mean you don't pay VAT. Being VAT registered means that you can reclaim VAT.

SouthMum Thu 11-Jun-09 10:13:25

Believe it or not (Not if you go off my last post!!) just before I went on Mat leave I started to deal with VAT / Non Vat Registered businesses in my work and I can't actually remember why, but they do sometimes quote prices exclusive of VAT, and I'm sure we pay them exclusive of VAT.....

Being off on Mat leave so long has addled my brain but I will try and think why.....

SouthMum Thu 11-Jun-09 10:14:35

Actually starting to doubt myself now blush

Why does your brain turn to Noodles when you have had a baby FFS!!!!

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:14:51

MP - quite! I wasn't there, but DH definitely understood that he was offering us the option to not pay VAT.

MrsHappy - that's interesting - I didn't know that about the price being inclusive by law. That could be a useful negotiating point. Although I don't want to screw the guy, because he has done a good job.

I still really don't want to turn a blind eye to his proposed tax evasion though.

(Btw, DH just said that the other quotes were a mixture of VAT inclusive and exclusive.)

cornflakegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:17:18

SouthMum - I'm an accountant. Trust me, you paid the VAT (unless your company was as dodgy as my plumber!). They do quote prices exclusive of VAT though, because that is the relevant number to the business. I entirely sympathise with noodle-brainedness though!

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 11-Jun-09 10:19:53

I assume he's on the fiddle - I paid the garage 'no vat' once (without really realising what I was doing) someone else negotiated the price for me and it was basically 'this price for cash and no receipt' 'this price for receipt'. (I honestly didn't realise the implications til after - but still I think it was the garage taking the risk rather then me? NOT that I advocate tax dodging at all blush)

SouthMum Thu 11-Jun-09 10:20:00

Eeek Cornflakegirl - good job no-one at my works knows my name on here!

Seriously I am worried now that I will forget everything when I go back to work (sorry to go off on a tangent there!!)

Bramshott Thu 11-Jun-09 10:20:17

Surely this isn't the first time someone has given you the option to pay cash in order to avoid VAT?!? If you're not happy to do that, you just say "no I'd rather pay the VAT and give you a cheque" don't you?!

katiestar Thu 11-Jun-09 10:22:47

Some types of building work you don't have to pay VAT on, such as new build and conversion of a building from non-residential to residential use .
i would always a assume a building quote to be 'plus VAT for this reason'.If you have nothing in writing anyway - it will end up one persons word against another.

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