’s latest consumer insight has found that 4 out of 5 of UK homeowners do not ask to see evidence of VAT credentials when hiring a tradesperson.

The HMRC estimates that £3.4 billion is uncollected every year from VAT fraud. While it is legal for a tradesperson to not be VAT-registered when earning under £83,000 per annum, there are some that claim to be VAT-registered so that they can charge customers higher prices.

Although the VAT charge can appear on the bill, if the trade professional is not upfront with their credentials, they can keep the 20% fee. Consequently the homeowner is overcharged while participating in VAT fraud.

Plentific’s survey found that homeowners aged 18 to 34 are twice as likely to ask to see their trade professional’s VAT credentials when compared to the UK’s average.

Londoners are apparently cautious, with 37% asking for evidence. Plentific suggests that this may be a result of the higher prices for London services, causing the homeowners to be wary of additional expenses. Nottingham, on the other hand, appears to care the least, as only 12% said they would ask to see the VAT credentials.

Despite the varied results across the UK, however, the majority of homeowners do not ask to see evidence of a trade professional’s VAT credentials. While it is not imperative to confirm a trade professional’s VAT number, or even to hire a registered specialist, homeowners are more likely to get a better deal if they are registered.