There are changes in the VAT treatment of certain supplies of hospitality and tourism sector as announced by the government last 8th July 2020. They introduced a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for certain supplies. This will have effect from 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021.

The reduced 5% VAT rate applies to:

  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, for example, in restaurants, cafes and pubs
  • Hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic beverages
  • Sleeping accommodation in hotels or similar establishments, holiday accommodation, pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities

Admissions to the following attractions that are not already eligible for the cultural VAT exemption such as:

  • Theatres
  • Circuses
  • Fairs
  • Amusement parks
  • Concerts
  • Museums
  • Zoos
  • Cinemas
  • Exhibitions
  • Similar cultural events and facilities

Where admission to these attractions is covered by the existing cultural exemption, the exemption will take precedence.

How to apply the VAT cut in Xero

The reduced 5% VAT rate is already available in Xero – all you need to do is select the appropriate VAT rate for affected supplies as instructed by HMRC.

If the rates do not appear in your Xero account, you can easily create them by:

  1. Login to your Xero account
  2. In the Accounting menu, select Advanced, then click Tax rates
  3. Click New Tax Rate
  4. Enter a display name and select a tax type
  5. Add the tax component name and enter the VAT percentage
  6. Click Save

These can also be set up as default VAT rates in Xero. You can choose a default account to use for contacts and inventory items given that these VAT rates has been set up.

You can also set up tax rates to load by default when you create a new invoice, bill, spend or receive money transaction for specific:


  • Go to Contacts and search for the contact you would want to assign with a default VAT rate
  • Select the relevant contact
  • Click Edit found in the upper right side
  • Scroll down under financial settings, VAT, and amend the default Sales VAT or default purchase VAT
  • Click Save

Inventory items

  • Go to Business and select Product and services
  • Select the relevant item that you would want to assign with a default VAT rate
  • Click Edit item
  • Amend the Tax Rate by selecting from the drop down
  • Click Save

Accounts in your chart of accounts

  • Go to Accounting menu, and select Chart of Accounts
  • Select the relevant account that you would want to assign with a default VAT rate
  • Amend the Tax rate by selecting from the drop down
  • Click Save

Please visit the website for more details about the changes announced.

We can help you

If you need any support or training for using Xero or would to find out how you make the most of your cloud accounting software, email or call 01474 853 856.

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Emma White



01474 853856

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