The Steve's recommended hotel I'd like has no on-line rental. I did e-mail and await response When I found this hotel (very small) on Booking.com, they were adding VAT to it. I thought VAT was just for purchased goods. Yes or no?
It's complicated (at least to us Americans who don't do VAT). See:
Now all that said if you bother to read the UK regulations, the hotel is suppose to build in the VAT and quote the full price. There was a bit of a dust up in the past. See:
Some well-known hotel chains, including Plaza, Hilton and Marriott,
are breaching regulations by not including VAT in headline prices
online, new research reveals.
While not England, some other countries such as Germany allow for a Cultural Tax or Bed Tax, a lot less than the 20% VAT to be ADDED to the room charge. The Bed Tax can be local. In Oberwiesenthal the German town had a small room tax, under 2€ per day.
All UK advertising should quote prices including VAT unless they are selling just to businesses. Unlikely for a hotel unless it is for a conference package.
Some hotels went through a phase of ignoring this, so that they would appear highest up in price comparisons sites amongst other things, and this also led others to follow this practice so as not to be disadvantaged. It took one single but well publicised complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority to bring the big internationals back into line but individual hotels aren't always compliant. A complaint via the ASA usually brings them into line.
You pay VAT on everything (except for a very few small categories of goods/services that the government has decided should be excluded, usually things they have deemed necessities). There are categories of goods and services that carry reduced VAT rates, will vary by country.
Astor House now displays VAT inclusive prices (as it used to prior to around 2005).
I have seen Booking.com display prices separately. It is a way of attracting you as the price looks lower on their initial page. The tax is shown in very fine print. If you go thru the booking process, the price will eventually be displayed as the total, including VAT. Very tricky as in the initial price it looks like you are getting it cheaper than on the hotel website.
Use the UK version of booking.com - all its prices should be displayed as VAT inclusive
Interesting comments. Here's the story. It is a well respected Inn in the Cotswolds. Their website quotes L80 per night for double with bath and with breakfast (so no additions that were mentioned). The Inn does not do on-line reservations so I used Booking.com. Their reservation statement to me read: 3 nights for L285, including VAT L47.50. This made the total l45 more than I expected at the L80 per night rate.
Is this considered unacceptable? If so, I will contact the Inn by e-mail and explain the confusion.
If the place doesn't do online reservations why, instead of resorting to booking dot com why don't you email or telephone the hosts and try to get their £80 all in price. I'd be surprised if the price is ex-VAT - not for an Inn for the public.
As said above, name the place and we will run a fine tooth comb over their webpage.