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Euro VAT calculator sits idle

A Customs & Excise computer system for handling VAT payments in euros has dealt with less than 10 transactions since the launch...

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A Customs & Excise computer system for handling VAT payments in euros has dealt with less than 10 transactions since the launch of the euro in 1999.

While debate over the UK's entry to the euro has divided political parties, UK business has shown little interest in paying VAT in euros.

A Customs office in Southend, Essex, has a bespoke database to calculate the effect of currency fluctuations on VAT payments made in euros that are then converted into sterling.

Between the time the VAT return is sent to and processed by Customs, fluctuating exchange rates may mean that the euro payment is slightly under or over the VAT due in sterling. Customs' Easy Euro Acceptance System works out any disparity so that staff can request the difference, send out the payment surplus or aggregate the discrepancy.

Customs staff expect euro VAT payments to pick up from the start of next year when the euro currency goes into circulation.

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