Is VAT Applicable on Cancellations and No-Shows?

Is VAT applicable on cancellations and no-shows?

UK government put into effect a policy regarding VAT charges for non-refundable deposits of canceled or no-show bookings on 1st March 2019. This came as a surprise to many short-term rental managers, affecting their accounting and revenue-related calculations. But VAT and Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (TOMS) complexities should not deter you from tracking the tax rules of the hospitality sector. Besides, Brexit and the UK withdrawal from the EU make TOMS not applicable anymore in the UK thereafter. So one needs to consider all these factors when devising a sensible approach to tax accounting.

How have non-refundable deposits been treated to date?

HMRC used to follow a policy of exempting vacation rental businesses from paying VAT on non-refundable deposits received through canceled or no-show bookings. This exemption was justified by the fact that there was no direct connection between the non-refundable deposit and the supply of the items and services provided for the guests.

How are canceled bookings and no-shows to be treated going forward?

An article dated January 4th 2019 on the BDO UK website states:

“HMRC has confirmed a new policy that VAT remains due on a deposit, even if the customer does not use the goods or services for which it was paid”.

https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights/tax/vat-and-indirect-taxes/vat-to-be-chargeable-on-all-non-refundable-deposits

So this means that as a vacation rental manager, in case of cancelled or no-show bookings, you will now have to pay VAT on non-refundable deposits. The article goes on to say that the change will primarily affect the hospitality industry,

 “which will soon be unable to recover VAT charged on cancellation or ‘no show’ charges…”

https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights/tax/vat-and-indirect-taxes/vat-to-be-chargeable-on-all-non-refundable-deposits

How does VAT on cancellations and no-shows affect my vacation rental business operations?

UK governments implemented the VAT on cancellations and No-shows on 1st March 2019. Most noteworthy, if you have not considered this new VAT policy, be sure to take it into account in your business plan.

1.  First of all, review your cancellation and no-show policy, and check its terms and conditions.

2. Also, ask your accountant or VAT counselor for advice on how to change your accounting procedures accordingly. Most probably you will need to include non-refundable invoices from canceled bookings in your accounting system or software.

How can I minimise the disruption on my business?

Each time you face a new VAT policy, you need to review the way you operate your vacation rental business. Hence, this time HMRC’s new policy regarding charging VAT for non-refundable deposits of canceled or no-show bookings is going to add to your accounting workload. From now on, you will have to include the invoices for those types of bookings in your VAT declaration.

Luckily there are solutions available. While drawing up invoices is time-consuming work, accounting software such as Xero is a handy solution to the problem. You find it probably even more advantageous to entrust the operation of your short term rentals. You need an all-in-one channel manager. A channel which integrates with an online accounting program to make your tax life hassle-free. Zeevou is an easy-to-use online platform that automates hospitality management. At the time of booking, Zeevou generates a beautifully designed draft invoice for every customer. Even if the guests do not use the services you provide for them, you have the invoice in your database. If knowing more about how Zeevou can help hosts seems interesting to you, please click on this link.

Remotely Controlling Number of Guests Staying

Remotely Controlling Number of Guests – Three Steps

Remotely controlling the number of guests staying is not the easiest of tasks. We’ve all heard of cases of guests who book for a handful and then show up with a whole bunch of other guests. If you run an annexe to your house as an Airbnb, there’s obvious ways of ensuring that this doesn’t happen. However, if you are a vacation rental management company remotely administering properties, that’s not the case. Even for more established serviced apartment companies that operate unstaffed aparthotels, it’s not always straightforward how unauthorised access is controlled.

1. Find Out Who Will Be Staying

Ask your guests ahead of time to provide the names of those who will be staying. Make sure to keep a full guest register (in some countries this is even required by legislation). Moreover, tell the guests that they will not be able to get access for anyone other than the names that have already been submitted at the time of booking, unless they agree otherwise later on with yourself. If you don’t want the hassle of record-keeping, take a look at Zeevou Book‘s 5-Step Booking Confirmation Process, which takes care of this for you.

2. Collect Digital Signatures

Once you have the guest register, you want to elicit a further commitment from the guest. Furthermore, get them to sign and say that they will not exceed the list of guests provided. You can, at the same time, ask them to agree to all your other terms and conditions. While it is difficult to do this upon arrival, you can collect digital signatures from the lead guest at the time of booking via a digital signature service. Signable is an affordable option, and is legally binding.

3. Supervise Your Property

If you follow the two steps outlined above, you will have made it clear to the vast majority of guests that you’re not going to accept any nonsense. However, you will find that there are still those who are going to try their luck and pretend that they’re compliant on all your paperwork. Occasionally, they may even commit fraud to do so. Moreover, to ensure that your property is safe, you may wish to install a Ring doorbell. This will allow you to have a live video link with your property at any time, and monitor who’s entering and leaving it.

However, monitoring your CCTV requires an active presence. This is where Noiseaware can come in helpful (use the coupon code “zeevou10” for 10% off). Their noise detection product will alert you if noise in your property exceeds a certain level. Just make sure to have a team of people ready who can stand up to the guests if you get an alert, as it may well be a full-blown party!


Can You Fully Remotely Control the Number of Guests Staying?

Will this help you completely eliminate all issues with guests staying at your property? No. Will it help you in remotely controlling the number of guests staying at your property? Yes. So, following the above steps can help you in reducing the chances of extra guests who have not paid staying, or a rowdy party being thrown and your place getting trashed.