Anyway, if I'm earning 76K, I'll just put my feet up
Its not about earning, its about turning over. I can turn over close to twice the vat threshold, but my earnings are small percentage of that.
currently the business has a rate for it's services which is acceptable. customers would not be best happy with a 20% prcie increase to cover VAT and could lose them.
who are your customers? Other businesses or the general public? And what do your services and the supplies you need consist of?
If its to other businesses then they're probably VAT registered anyway so the difference doesn't matter.
If you're only selling your time and skills - consultation, design, a massage with a happy ending perhaps - then VAT registration adds a lot to your end price as its only your genius and your soft, warm hands that you're selling. If your business is about adding value to other services or materials - a cabinet maker buys wood, turns to into something more valuable then sells it - then vat registration will save you money on your outgoings. If you're selling to the public your price won't go up by 20%, it need only go up by 20% of the difference between your costs and your selling price.
One service I have is I broker the transport of an exhibition in a shipping container around europe. I charge the client for managing this on top of the transport costs charged to me. It cost me £5k+vat to get the container to the south of france. I charge £100 on top for arranging that. If was non registered it would cost my client
£5k transport +£1k vat+£100 management= £6100
But because I'm registered I can recover that vat so the reality is it costs me £5k not £6k. So being registered the price isn't
5K+ £1k+£100 plus 20% = £7320.
So registration puts my price up by £20, not 20%
nput VAT is very small as the business is service based with little costs of VAT chargeable materials.
Are you happy living on what you're earning just now? If you think vat would be detrimental just do less work, or at least don't do more than would take you over the threshold. If you go over then maybe that means having to do a lot more work for any extra turnover to be worth while. If thats not the life you want, don't do it.