Taxing time for Christmas markets

Foreign traders at UK Christmas markets could be hit by hefty VAT bills this year, it has been warned.

The accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg said changes to European tax laws meant overseas traders no longer qualified for the £77,000 threshold on sales. Under the new rules this will only apply to businesses established in the UK.

Alan Pearce, a partner at Blick Rothenberg, said: "Will we see the VAT man snooping around Christmas markets like Scrooge demanding to see VAT-registration certificates? It could happen given that the Chancellor is trying to balance his books."