Mike Sheppard who runs Flyford Stores in Flyford Flavel, Worcestershire, has pointed out a little detail on VAT. "The envelope enclosed for the return of my latest VAT return requires a stamp. Previously, the envelopes have been post paid. All be it trivial, is this another stealth tax against (particularly) the small shopkeeper?" And he asks: "Would it be in order for me to write OHMS across the top of the envelope and see what happens?"

I don't think the decision was targeted at shopkeepers in particular. I've had a look at my own VAT envelope (I am self-employed) and yes, it requires a stamp. So, yes, they are clawing more back. I reckon if Mike leaves the stamp off he will get away with it on the basis that a) they want the money and b) they might assume you didn't notice this time. I don't think it will work for ever, though.