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8 Min. Read

Online VAT Calculator: 5 Best VAT Calculators for the UK (Free)

Online VAT Calculator: 5 Best VAT Calculators for the UK (Free)

Value Added Tax (VAT) was only introduced in the UK in 1973, at a rate of 10%. And it's been an excellent money earner for the UK government ever since.

There are now 3 different rates of VAT in the UK:

  • Standard rate: 20%, applies to most products and services
  • Reduced rate: 5%, applies to sales of things like children's car seats and domestic fuel
  • Zero rate: 0%, applies to books, most food, newspapers and children's clothes

Just to add further confusion, businesses may produce things that are 'out of scope' or ‘exempt from’ VAT. Our full guide 'How Does VAT Work in the UK?' has all the details. And HMRC’s full list of the VAT rates that apply to all goods and services is here.

The point is - working out your VAT isn't as simple as other taxes.

And that's when technology can really help save you time. There are lots of online tools that calculate VAT for you. Whether you're trying to work out how much VAT to add or how much you need to deduct.

FreshBooks Calculator takes the effort out of your VAT calculations. And it’s completely free. It doesn’t cost you any money, or information.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

FreshBooks Ultimate Online UK VAT Calculator

Top 5 Other Online VAT Calculators For The UK

How To Calculate VAT

How Do You Add 5% VAT on a Calculator?

How Do I Calculate VAT Backwards?

Key Takeaways

FreshBooks Ultimate Online UK VAT Calculator

Of course, FreshBooks VAT Calculator is the best of the best. Well, it’d be a bit weird if we didn’t say that!  

It’s a simple, completely user-friendly design. All you have to do is select either the ‘Add VAT’ or ‘Remove VAT’ tab, type in the amount, and select either 5% or 20% VAT rate. The VAT amount and total immediately appear underneath.

There’s no long blurb or explanation to plough through. Just a straightforward answer to ‘how much is the VAT?’. There is no need for your brain to engage in the actual mathematics of it at all. It's needed elsewhere in your business!

No more figuring out percentages or finding the right formula. The FreshBooks VAT Calculator does it for you.

Underneath we’ve included an example calculation, using a familiar visual layout. And there’s a brief explanation of which VAT rate you need to use. We’ve also popped in some links to more detailed information in our UK VAT hub knowledge bank. Just in case you’ve got any further VAT questions.

That’s why FreshBooks online VAT Calculator is the best available – gets straight to the point and has supporting information available, if you need it

Top 5 Online VAT Calculators For The UK

We've rounded up 5 of the best other calculators, with a quick rundown of their usability. So you’ve got something to compare the FreshBooks one to. See which one best suits your way of thinking.

Kashflow's online VAT Calculator lets you work out the price of something with and without VAT. You just need to fill in 2 fields - the price and the correct rate of VAT, which you choose from a drop down menu. Then you click 'remove VAT’ or 'add VAT' and the calculation is worked out for you. Everything is in pounds and refers only to the UK VAT percentages.

This VAT calculator is designed very intuitively, so it's immediately obvious how to use it. KashFlow also has instructions written out in 3 simple steps underneath. A thoughtful addition for those who prefer to take information onboard in this way.

As soon as you arrive at Omni Calculator's online VAT calculator, they're helpful, with a pop up tip saying: "You don't need to go from the top to the bottom. You can calculate anything, in any order."

You need to fill in either the 'gross price' or 'net price' and the correct UK Value Added Tax rate for your product or service. The calculator instantly displays the price with and without VAT and the separate 'Tax amount'. So you can work out how much to add or remove to meet your VAT obligations.

As its name indicates, Omni Calculator is designed for international use. It's not specific to just UK VAT. In their accompanying text, some of the examples are in Euros or American dollars. Depending on your position this may be an interesting broader outlook, or it might make an already complex process more confusing. They also have options to share the calculation by email and social media.

This is a very easy to use online VAT calculator. You just have to enter the amount, the correct VAT rate and click 'add VAT' or 'remove VAT'. Your VAT calculation is displayed underneath, where you can clearly see the Net Amount (Exclusive of VAT), Gross Amount (Inclusive of VAT) and the Total amount of VAT.

The 3-step process is listed under 2 separate headings 'How to add VAT' and 'How to remove VAT' alongside the calculator. An excellent addition for those new to the system and who aren't sure where to start.

This is a visually appealing design, laid out like an actual calculator and the option to click on the numbers to enter them. You then have a clear option to 'add VAT' or 'remove VAT'.

The main fault with this calculator is the ability to set the reduced VAT rate. You do this using a sliding scale. Unfortunately, this only starts at 10%, with a maximum VAT percentage of 25%. So if you're using the 20% standard rate of VAT, this works fine. But if you need to apply the reduced rate of 5%, then this definitely isn't the VAT calculator for you.

Presentation of the VAT calculation is clear, showing the figures in a very logical order: net amount (without VAT), amount of VAT, gross amount (with VAT added). This is the same whether you add or remove VAT. There is also a reminder of the number you first entered as the final 'calculation based on' field.

Scoosh's online calculator is very clearly called 'The 20% VAT Calculator', letting us know from the start that it only does a VAT calculation based on the 20% standard rate of VAT. You can't change the VAT percentage. This clarity saves time for anyone using the 5% reduced rate of VAT - you know it's not for you and can go elsewhere straightaway.

This VAT calculator has a slightly different layout. You enter your price, then answer the question 'Does this include VAT? by either ticking the 'yes' box, or not (which is a 'no'). The 2 following fields give you the VAT and total calculation.

So you can simply work out how much VAT to add or remove depending on whether you're starting with a net or gross figure.

How To Calculate VAT

To calculate the VAT to add to your item, you use a simple formula: Net price x  1.VAT%

So you're either working out your price multiplied by 1.20 or 1.05, depending on which VAT rate you need to use.

Example 1:

  • Net price of item: £50
  • VAT rate: standard rate of 20%
  • Calculation: 50 x 1.20 = 60
  • Gross price of item: £60
  • VAT added: £10

Example 2:

  • Net price of item: £50
  • VAT rate: reduced rate of 5%
  • Calculation: 50 x 1.05 =52.5
  • Gross price of item: £52.50
  • VAT added: £2.50

How Do You Add 5% VAT on a Calculator?

Find a VAT calculator that has the option to choose different VAT rates. Click on 5% VAT to get your VAT calculation.

The most important thing here is your choice of online calculator. As you can see, some only give VAT calculations using the standard VAT rate. This is understandable because most businesses' goods and services in the UK are charged at this 20% VAT rate. But that's not helpful if your products or service are in the reduced rate of 5% category.

But when you've found a free online VAT calculator that's got this VAT percentage, you shouldn't find it any more difficult to calculate your UK VAT - adding or removing.

How Do I Calculate VAT Backwards?

Work out the VAT backwards, from the gross amount, using this calculation: Gross amount ÷ (1+VAT%)

So you're either using 1.20 or 1.05 as the divisor, depending on the applicable VAT rate.

Example:

  • Gross price: £200.00
  • VAT rate: 20%
  • Calculation: 200 ÷ 1.20 = 166.66, 200 - 166.66 = 33.34
  • Net price: £166.66
  • VAT amount: £33.34

Key Takeaways

Value Added Tax is a legal obligation for all businesses with an annual turnover that meets and exceeds the VAT threshold. Yes, that does mean there are penalties if you don't comply with all of HMRC's digital recording and reporting requirements. FreshBooks has this all organised for you.

You are Making Tax Digital for VAT ready. You can see your current tax position in a couple of clicks, because we know that's what businesses need to meet their liabilities and track their cash flow.

Online VAT calculators are handy for quick checks, as you're creating invoices or adding VAT to your prices. Especially if you don't have to become VAT-registered because you're over the threshold, but are considering voluntary registration so you can get VAT relief on your business costs.

Choose a calculator that has all the options you need - particularly when it comes to the VAT percentage option. And the one that makes the most sense to you. These are just 5 of the better versions out there - there's definitely something for everyone when it comes to design! They are excellent time savers because they reduce the number of steps in the calculation that you have to do yourself.  There's a bit of 'value added', right there - do you see what we did there!


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