All school uniform should be tax-free to help families that are struggling to afford the £90 cost of sending their kids to school, a campaign group has warned.
Families in England are paying £9million a year in VAT on school uniforms, despite the levy only applying once the child turns 14, figures show.
That averages out as £2,604 at each of England’s 3,456 secondary schools, a report by The Schoolwear Association found.
Since 1973, clothing and shoes for young children have been tax-free, in line with EU regulations.
However, clothing for children 14 years old or older, or taller or larger than the average, are subject to the full standard rate of 20% VAT. This includes school uniform garments.
That means if your child is taller or needs a bigger size that takes them past the 14-year-old bracket, they will have to pay tax on the uniform purchased.
Abolishing VAT on school uniforms would help families to meet the cost of uniforms, with the average parent paying £90 to kit their child out for school, The Schoolwear Association said.
Chief executive, Matthew Easter, said: “The Schoolwear Association is committed to providing excellent value, long-lasting school uniforms to young people who spend on average 195 days a year in these clothes.
“However, with the current tax system unfairly penalising some families over others, there’s clearly more to be done. Now that the UK is no longer tied to EU rules on VAT, this is a fantastic opportunity for the Government to intervene and make school uniforms even more affordable for hard-pressed families across the country.
“As an industry body, we are publicly committing to passing any savings from a VAT cut directly onto families, and will continue to work with schools to ensure their uniform policies are as proportionate and reasonable as possible.”
The Mirror has contacted The Treasury for a comment.
VAT is a type of tax that is added to goods and services – and in the UK, it equates to 20%.
Should VAT be banned on all school uniform? Let us know in the comments below
Consumers currently pay VAT on alcohol, tobacco, electronic goods and most clothing, apart from those for children and babies.
Any VAT due is already included in the price of something you buy in a shop – so you do not need to work it out before you pay.
Takeaways are exempt from VAT if it is cold food, unless it is to be eaten in a designated area.
The same goes for other hospitality businesses including cinemas and theme parks.
However, products where you do not pay VAT include newspapers, magazines and postage stamps.
You also do not pay tax on sports activities and admission charges for cultural events such as museums and galleries.
Betting activities, including online gambling, lottery tickets and bingo, are exempt too, but gambling companies pay duties on any profits they make – we explain below.
Other services where you do not pay VAT include items purchased in charity shops and entry to charitable events.
Maternity pads and sanitary towels are also exempt, as are baby and children’s clothing.
You can sign the petition to ban VAT on all school uniform, here.
Need help covering back to school costs? See our guide on all the help you can claim. here.