
Elementary Math Fractions, Percentages, Word Problems, Equations, Inequations, Factorization, Expansion 
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March 23rd, 2017, 02:38 AM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Mar 2017 From: London Posts: 2 Thanks: 1  Percentage problem  which is probably really simple!!
Hi, I just need to say in advance that I know my problem is probably quite simple, but for some reason I have completely confused myself with this and now I need someone to explain the logic behind it as it's driving me insane and I can't continue on with my work until I have the answer: I'm trying to calculate the balance on an account  I work in accounts  and I am inputting the VAT value  which is 20% of the gross figure. Gross total: £110.35 VAT: 18.35 Net: 91.96 (round to 2.dp) The percentage problem: To calculate the net figure, I need to remove 20% of VAT from the gross total. Usually, I would divide by 1.2: 110.35 / 1.2 = 91.958333 which rounded up = 91.96 The confusion: As I understand it, when I divide the gross figure by whole number of 1 with decimal of 0.20 (1.2), this removes 20% from the figure of 110.35 What I don’t understand is when I try to remove 20% by multiplying 110.35 by 0.2 and then subtracting this from the gross figure, I get a completely different Net value. i.e. I Calculate 20% of 110.35 20/100 x 110.35 = 22.07 Then subtract this from 110:35 110.35  22.07 = 88.28 Why does dividing by 1.2 give a completely different answer to simply working out the percentage of the gross number and subtracting that from it? From my understanding on both occasions I am removing 20% of the number. But the methods give completely different answers. Sorry if this is longwinded, but any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. Fi Last edited by skipjack; March 23rd, 2017 at 03:56 AM. 
March 23rd, 2017, 03:06 AM  #2 
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 16,775 Thanks: 1236 
If £n is the net price and £g is the price including VAT, g = n + 20% of n = n(1 + 20%) = n × 1.2, and so n = g/1.2. Equivalently, n = g  g/6, because 1  1/6 = 5/6 = 1/1.2. 
March 23rd, 2017, 03:28 AM  #3  
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: Glasgow Posts: 1,926 Thanks: 628 Math Focus: Physics, mathematical modelling, numerical and computational solutions  Quote:
$\displaystyle 110.35 \times 0.8 = 88.28$ But I don't think that's correct in the context of your work.  Firstly, let's set VAT to 20%. Secondly, let's remember that percentages are applied to particular values. In our case, VAT is a percentage tax applied to the net value. Repeat... it is applied to the net value. Therefore, if you start with a net value of 91.96, the gross value (net + tax) can be calculated using $\displaystyle 91.96 \times 1.2 = 110.352.$ However, what if you started with the gross value and wanted the net value? You do the inverse operation to get what you started: $\displaystyle 110.352 / 1.2 = 91.96$ And this is why you divided by 1.2.  Extra info: If you want to derive the percentage of gross value that is tax, you'll get a different value from your VAT, and rightly so because that percentage would apply to the gross value, not the net value. Different value; different percentage. The percentage is obtained using percentage = $\displaystyle \left(1  \frac{91.96}{110.352}\right) \times 100 \% = 16.\dot{6}\%$ You would then specify the relationships between net and gross values as follows: $\displaystyle 91.96 / 0.8\dot{3} = 110.352$ and $\displaystyle 110.352 \times 0.8\dot{3} = 91.96$ Notice the divide and multiplication signs have swapped from your original problem? It's because this percentage is applied to the gross value, not the net value. Last edited by skipjack; March 23rd, 2017 at 03:57 AM.  
March 23rd, 2017, 07:49 AM  #4 
Newbie Joined: Mar 2017 From: London Posts: 2 Thanks: 1 
Thank you so much for this detailed explanation!!!! It really makes sense now....you've made my day Fi 

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