Where is the value in Value Added Tax?

Where is the value in Value Added Tax?

Mar 28, 2023 12:54 PM

A while ago I was contacted by an Interpreter asking whether they would have to register for VAT. I thought “well, surely not” but I was wrong. VAT is indeed applicable on BSL interpreters.

This led me to speak to a few terps and colleagues alike. I wrote to my local MP, Ed Timpson, who has a background of sorts with his parents caring for children with disabilities, and whichever political lean you are on, I must say he was wonderful in the fact that I got a phone call from an aide of his within the hour. Similar to my contact with Rosie Cooper, of whom I assume most of you would have heard of. She is the Labour MP who championed the BSL bill. I believe she is a CODA, so again, a poignant topic to her. Although not in her constituency, she still sent me a reply. Both replies had the same content, written in different ways. “I will pass on your letter to HM Treasury”. After a few weeks, I received a letter from The Treasury. Unfortunately, it was a cut and paste job that basically said whilst they understand the work that interpreters do, it is a VATable service and there are no plans to change that.

Before I met my wife, my idea of “what interpreters do” was probably not quite accurate, because with being an interpreter comes a multitude of nuance, which is probably why there are only about 1,000 of you in the UK! To put into perspective just how little there are in relation to something else, for instance… accountants… well, a quick google tells me there are around 41,480 accountancy firms in the UK, so can only imagine a few more accountants! I digress.

I will attach a picture of the letter below.

Recently, another interpreter got in touch, as they are skirting around the threshold and my name got thrown out to them (thank you whoever it was) as I have been tackling this issue for quite a while. This re-ignited the passion after the initial government cutdown, and with the help of the aforementioned interpreter, I spoke with a VAT specialist. Between us, we are (well, I am) quietly confident that I am on the precipice of an answer to the issue. But I need your help. If you are here, chances are you have come from LinkedIn, where you would have seen my post. So I ask you again, please get in touch if you would be willing to give me some guidance on your lived and learned experiences with either yourself or a colleague when it comes to issues surrounding VAT. A couple of the points that have been made so far, is the blatant discrimination towards the Deaf community that arises by pricing out interpreters from jobs, for instance Access to Work - they do not pay VAT. So if you are getting paid £40 per hour, then you become VAT registered, you are now getting paid £33.33 per hour, and have to take the VAT out yourself. The only alternative is to charge £48 per hour, and eat into the Deaf individuals AtW budget.

This is just a small example of the information I hope to get together, so that I can provide a rock sturdy case to HM government, as to why I believe that some, if not all, interpreting work should be outside the scope of VAT.

Please do get in touch if you can, as@tthltd.com. Andy