Benefits of using a backwards VAT Calculator for your business


Sometimes known as a reverse VAT calculator, a backwards VAT calculator is a nifty tool for navigating the murky waters of Value-Added Tax (VAT).

How it works is the user will input the total amount and applicable VAT percentage, and the calculator will provide the results needed for financial statements, invoices, and so on by simply deducing the pre-VAT sum from the VAT price. This can be extremely beneficial for businesses and sole traders who deal with multiple VAT-inclusive price transactions, ensuring accuracy for bookkeeping and financial reporting.

In short, a reverse VAT calculator reduces the possibility of errors and allows the user to remain in keeping with tax regulations.

Let’s dive deeper.

Value-Added Tax Explained

In order for businesses and sole proprietors to navigate their VAT obligations correctly, it is important to fully understand what VAT is.

Value-Added Tax is a type of charge that is applied to goods and services – the rate of which varies, depending on what’s being offered – and as the name suggested, is based on the value of the particular product or service.

Another important aspect of dealing with VAT is the gross and net amounts and how they differ from each other.

Gross & Net Amounts: What’s the Difference?

The gross amount is the total cost of a transaction, which includes the VAT, and the net amount is the cost of the transactions before VAT is applied. And this is where using a backwards VAT calculator comes in handy.

The calculator will take the gross amount and will estimate the net amount and VAT based on the VAT rate you input.

 The reason it is called a reverse calculator is that when it is given the gross (total) amount, it works backwards to deliver the net and VAT amounts.

 Once a business owner or solerepreneur understands the difference between the two amounts, how VAT works, and how a reverse calculator works, it can be a valuable tool that ensures financial reporting is quicker, simpler, and more accurate.

VAT in the UK

Most businesses in the UK will be paying the standard VAT rate, which is 20%. This covers most goods (such as electronics, clothing, meals in restaurants, etc.). However, some businesses may be paying a reduced VAT rate (which is 5%), and some businesses are exempt from paying VAT at all.

Reduced VAT Rate

 The reduced VAT rate is applied to products and services that are considered ‘essential’, including:

  • Mobility aids
  • Products for quitting smoking
  • Non-business electricity and gas
  • Protective/safety equipment
  • Water and most foods

VAT Exempt

 Many businesses across the UK are not required to pay VAT. However, this also means the organisation is exempt from claiming input tax credits. Products/services exempt include:

  • Electric car salary sacrifice schemes
  • Education and training services/products
  • Non-profit organisation activities
  • Health and medical care products/services
  • Financial and insurances products/services


Some products and services are subject to zero-rate VAT, meaning they aren’t charged a VAT rate, but can still apply for input tax credits. This includes:

  • Public transport
  • Most food items
  • Children’s attire
  • Books, magazines, and newspapers

Always be sure of which items/services belong in which VAT rate bracket so as to keep track of your expenses and taxes.

Why Use a Backwards VAT Calculator?

You will need a backwards VAT calculator whenever you need to work backwards from the gross amount of a transaction, as this will allow you to accurately estimate the VAT amount and the net amount separately, which is especially useful when pouring over receipts and invoices that only include the gross amount. 

You can use a reverse VAT calculator here.

Additional Financial Resources 

When it comes to navigating your business’s finances, sometimes a helping hand can go a long way. We offer services designed to help organisations like yours with the following:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounting
  • New business expertise
  • VAT
  • Payroll management
  • + more

Get in touch today to see how we can help you manage your business’s money.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog post is accurate to the best of our knowledge and based on the latest available information as of the date of posting, which is 6th September 2023. However, please note that information, laws, regulations, and circumstances can change over time. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information provided. It is always recommended to verify any information independently and consult with relevant professionals or experts for specific advice or updates. The authors and publishers of this blog post shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions, or outdated information, or for any actions taken based on the information provided in this blog post. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion and exercise due diligence in evaluating the accuracy and reliability of the information before making any decisions or taking any actions based on it.

Need a helping hand?

1 Wern Road, Garnant, Ammanford, SA18 1LN