York wedding photographer visited by lady from the tax office

York wedding photographer Steve Ramsden visited by lady from the tax office

A couple of weeks ago a young lady came to see me at the studio.  She was obviously very interested in our work and what we do, and asked lots of questions.  One question she asked was this.

Do your prices include VAT?

I told her what I thought – great question!!

Why is this such a great question?

Two reasons – first of all, most brides I talk to never even think to ask this question of anyone.  Yet I know for a fact that plenty of wedding photographers quote their prices ‘excluding VAT’, then add 20% on to the final invoice. Wedding photography services are ‘retail’ by nature.  Therefore, if your photographer is VAT registered, he/she should be quoting VAT inclusive prices at the outset – not adding VAT back later!

If your VAT registered wedding photographer is quoting ‘ex VAT’ prices, be very careful.  It’s a sharp practice in my view.  If they are pulling the wool over your eyes with that trick, what else are they hiding?

Wedding photographer price lists

Wedding photographer price lists are a nightmare at the best of times, without this sort of nonsense confusing matters further. I dislike anything underhand, and to me this just stinks.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills in their Pricing Practices Guide – Guidance for traders on good practice in giving information about prices – states the following:-

Valued Added Tax (VAT)

(i) Price indications to consumers

2.2.9 All price indications you give to consumers, by whatever means, should include VAT. This total price must be displayed prominently so that consumers can see it.

Anything else, in my view, is in breech of that guideline.

The second reason it’s a great question is this – if you don’t ask the question, you might just assume that you’re comparing eggs with eggs when looking at respective price lists.   Except you’re not.  It’s a deceptive way to make one photographer look less expensive than the next.  If you fall for it, you’ll be stung good and proper in the end.

So anyhow, I suggested that if she wanted a true price comparison, to bring me the price package of any other photographer she was considering to photograph her wedding, and I would compare like with like for her – level the playing field, so to speak.  That’s when she thanked me kindly and explained that she worked at the tax office and knew what she was looking for.

Interestingly enough, she said she didn’t just find this amongst wedding photographers.  Other wedding suppliers do it as well.

Two essential questions to ask your wedding photographer and other wedding suppliers

So my advice is this – whatever prices you are comparing when you are out there buying for your wedding, ask these questions.

Do your prices include VAT?  Will there be anything to add to these prices after the wedding?

If a seller can’t be straight with their prices up front, how can you trust their involvement in your wedding day?

In car analogy terms, if there’s rust on the metalwork, have a bloomin’ good luck under the bonnet!

I am delighted to say that a few days after our chat, I was booked to be the lady’s wedding photographer next year, and can’t wait.

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