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VAT on printed items


Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Should your printer be charging you VAT? Have a look....

Acceptance Cards = Standard-rated
Account Books = Standard-rated
Accounts (fully printed) = Zero-rated
Address Books = Standard-rated
Advertising Leaflets = Zero-rated
Agendas (fully printed) = Zero-rated
Albums = Standard-rated
Almanacs = Zero-rated
Amendment Slips = Standard-rated
Amendments (loose-leaf) = Zero-rated
Announcement Cards = Standard-rated
Annuals = Zero-rated
Antique Books = Zero-rated
Antique Maps = Zero-rated
Appointment Cards = Standard-rated
Articles of Association (complete in booklet form) = Zero-rated
Astronomical Charts = Zero-rated
Atlases = Zero-rated
Autograph Albums (uncompleted) = Standard-rated
Autograph Books (completed) = Zero-rated
Badges = Standard-rated
Bags, Paper = Standard-rated
Ballot Papers = Standard-rated
Bankers’ Drafts = Standard-rated
Bibliographies = Zero-rated
Billheads = Standard-rated
Bills of Lading = Standard-rated
Bills of Quantity (blank) = Standard-rated
Bills of Quantity (completed) = Zero-rated
Binders = Standard-rated (but see paragraph 5.2)
Bingo Cards = Standard-rated
Biorhythm Charts = Standard-rated
Blotters = Standard-rated
Book Covers = Standard-rated
Book Marks = Standard-rated
Book Tokens = Standard-rated
Booklets = Zero-rated
Bookmakers’ Tickets = Standard-rated
Books = Zero-rated
Brochures = Zero-rated

Bulletins = Zero-rated
Business Cards = Standard-rated
Calendars = Standard-rated
Catalogues = Zero-rated
Certificates = Standard-rated

Charts (geographical or topographical) = Zero-rated
Cheques and Cheque Books = Standard-rated
Cigarette Cards = Standard-rated
Circulars = Zero-rated
Cloakroom Tickets = Standard-rated
Colour Cards = Standard-rated
Colouring Books (children’s) = Zero-rated
Comics = Zero-rated
Company Accounts and Reports = Zero-rated
Compliment Slips = Standard-rated
Copy Books (NCR Pads) = Standard-rated

Correspondence Cards = Standard-rated
Coupon Books = Standard-rated
Coupons = Standard-rated
Credit Cards = Standard-rated
Crossword Books = Zero-rated
Delivery Notes = Standard-rated
Diaries (completed) = Zero-rated
Diaries (unused) = Standard-rated
Dictionaries = Zero-rated
Directories (completed) = Zero-rated
Dividend Warrants = Standard-rated
Dressmaking Patterns = Standard-rated
Election Addresses = Zero-rated
Encyclopaedias = Zero-rated
Engineers’ Plans = Standard-rated
Envelopes = Standard-rated
Exercise Books = Standard-rated
Fashion Drawings = Standard-rated
Flash Cards = Standard-rated
Folders = Standard-rated
Football Pool Coupons = Standard-rated
Football Programmes = Zero-rated
Form Letters = Standard-rated (but see paragraph 4.3)
Forms = Standard-rated
Framed Decorative Maps = Standard-rated
Games = Standard-rated
Geological Maps = Zero-rated
Globes = Standard-rated
Graph Paper = Standard-rated
Greetings Cards = Standard-rated
Handbills = Zero-rated
Holiday and Tourist Guides = Zero-rated
Hydrographical Charts = Zero-rated
Hymn Books = Zero-rated
Index Cards = Standard-rated
Inlay Cards for Cassette, CD or DVD = Standard-rated
Instruction Manuals = Zero-rated
Insurance Cover Notes = Standard-rated
Invitation Cards = Standard-rated
Invoices = Standard-rated
Journals = Zero-rated
Labels = Standard-rated
Leaflets = Zero-rated
Letter Headings = Standard-rated

Letters (handwritten) = Standard-rated
Log Books (blank) = Standard-rated
Loose Leaf Books = Zero-rated
Lottery Tickets and Cards = Standard-rated
Magazines = Zero-rated
Mail Order Catalogues = Zero-rated
Manuals = Zero-rated
Manuscript Paper = Standard-rated
Manuscripts = Standard-rated
Maps = Zero-rated
Medical Records = Standard-rated
Membership Cards = Standard-rated
Memo Pads = Standard-rated

Memorial Cards = Standard-rated
Menu Cards = Standard-rated
Microfiche = Standard-rated
Microfilm = Standard-rated
Microform Copies = Standard-rated
Missals = Zero-rated
Monographs = Zero-rated
Music = Zero-rated
Music Rolls = Standard-rated
Music Scores = Zero-rated
Newspapers = Zero-rated
Note Books, Pads and Paper = Standard-rated
Order Books and Forms = Standard-rated
Orders of Service = Zero-rated
Painting Books (children’s) = Zero-rated
Pamphlets = Zero-rated
Paper, Unprinted = Standard-rated
Parts of Books (see paragraph 4.4) = Standard-rated
Pattern Cards = Standard-rated
Periodicals = Zero-rated
Photograph Albums = Standard-rated
Photographs = Standard-rated
Picture Books = Zero-rated
Plans = Standard-rated (but see paragraph 3.10)
Playing Cards = Standard-rated
Poll Cards = Standard-rated
Pools Coupons = Standard-rated
Postcards = Standard-rated
Poster Magazines (see paragraph 3.6) = Zero-rated
Posters = Standard-rated
Prayer Books = Zero-rated
Price Cards and Tags = Standard-rated
Price Lists (fully printed leaflets or brochures) = Zero-rated
Printed Pictures = Standard-rated
Programmes = Zero-rated
Questionnaires = Standard-rated

Rag Books (children’s) = Zero-rated
Receipt Books and Forms = Standard-rated
Recipe Books = Zero-rated
Record Books = Standard-rated
Record Labels = Standard-rated
Record Sleeves = Standard-rated
Registers = Standard-rated
Rent Books = Standard-rated
Reply-Paid Coupons and Envelopes = Standard-rated
Reproductions of Paintings = Standard-rated
Road Maps = Zero-rated
Score Cards = Standard-rated
Scrap Books (blank) = Standard-rated
Scrap Books (completed) = Zero-rated
Scrolls (hand-written) = Standard-rated
Seals = Standard-rated
Share Certificates = Standard-rated
Ships’ Logs (completed) = Zero-rated
Sports Programmes = Zero-rated
Staff Journals = Zero-rated
Stamp Albums (whether completed or not) = Standard-rated
Stationery = Standard-rated
Stationery Books = Standard-rated
Stickers = Standard-rated
Swatch Books = Standard-rated
Swatch Cards = Standard-rated
Sweepstake Tickets = Standard-rated
Tags = Standard-rated
Temperature Charts = Standard-rated
Text Books = Zero-rated
Theses = Zero-rated
Tickets = Standard-rated
Time Cards and Sheets = Standard-rated
Timetables (in book or leaflet form) = Zero-rated
Tokens = Standard-rated (but see paragraph 5.4)
Topographical Plans = Zero-rated
Toys = Standard-rated
Tracts = Zero-rated
Trade Catalogues = Zero-rated
Trade Directories = Zero-rated
Transcripts = Standard-rated
Transfers = Standard-rated
Transparencies = Standard-rated
Travel Brochures = Zero-rated
Visiting Cards = Standard-rated
Vouchers = Standard-rated
Wall Charts = Standard-rated
Waste Paper = Standard-rated
Wills = Standard-rated
Winding Cards = Standard-rated
Wrapping Paper = Standard-rated
Wreath Cards = Standard-rated

Any changes to the above list and further information can be found here > HMRC

Further info can be found here > VAT on printed products

Stationery Printing
 
#2
Great list. For our major items we list here (at the bottom) FAQs

VAT is a tricky one for the client to quickly understand.

e.g.
Leaflets vs Posters
Leaflets vs Leaflets with response forms

Not easy.

Peter
 
#3
It is a tricky area - and many printers just charge VAT across the board to make sure. This isn't a problem if you are dealing with VAT registered companies as it has no effect (except perhaps on cashflow). We always try to charge it out correctly where applicable.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#4
It is a tricky area - and many printers just charge VAT across the board to make sure.
Charging vat across the board isn't fair...especially to those who are not vat registered, to be honest 50% of the products we sell aren't vatable most of the time so charging vat to make sure seems dodgy in my opinion. Is it even legal to charge vat on a product that isn't vatable? I don't know?

Be interesting to know how much of the vat these companies charge (especially on items that they know aren't vatable) gets paid over to HMRC. :icon_dunno:
 
#5
Charging vat across the board isn't fair...especially to those who are not vat registered, to be honest 50% of the products we sell aren't vatable most of the time so charging vat to make sure seems dodgy in my opinion. Is it even legal to charge vat on a product that isn't vatable? I don't know?

Be interesting to know how much of the vat these companies charge (especially on items that they know aren't vatable) gets paid over to HMRC. :icon_dunno:
I agree - but they would be very stupid not to pay it to HMRC. You dont mess with them! Besides... the companies that are VAT registered only claim it back. The only people that would lose out are those that are not. In fact the HMRC could be making on the deal if everyone is paying it.
 
#7
Unfortunately the advice you are giving here is really insufficient to tell whether VAT is due. There are instances where leaflets/brochures are standard rated.

You need to read VAT notice 701/10

HM Revenue & Customs

Equally there instances where mailing costs, design costs, packaging costs are zero rated too. It's all covered by the VAT notice above.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#8
It wasn't a comprehensive list covering every possible scenario just a general guide, hence the bit at the bottom...

Any changes to the above list and further information can be found here > HMRC
 
#9
Complete minefield - when does a leaflet stop and a poster begin? I think that it's so unclear that people can bend the rules quite a bit! If you are a business or self employed/freelance the sooner you get VAT registered the better.

In my opinion!
 
#10
Dont Get Caught Out

Its funny how things happen.

One of our suppliers (albeit sometime ago now) charged us VAT on Letterheads, A5 & Dl Leaflets & Business Cards as well as the delivery costs. I dont believe it was intentional they just didn't understand the differences.

Being exempt it did matter to the overall budget.. but the price being less than their competitors quote (including the extra VAT) we didn't mind.

However a short time afterwards I was helping another firm review the (our printers) books and guess what they weren't paying VAT onwards (oh dear). I had assumed they would have. They were told and corrected this before HMRC had them shot..

Moral: Someone will see so be careful. Always choose a method to decide what is VATable and stick to it. HMRC don't like folks varying the way the collect VAT. (if you collect VAT you pass it on, remember you're an unpaid tax collector)

My own printer always provides 2 Invoices 1 with only the VATable items plus another for only non VATable items. Simple he says.
 
#11
Just a thought

Sorry I should have said if you are VAT registered and not sure :icon_confused: on the guidelines call HMRC themselves.

UK 0845 010 9000. :icon_yawn: They are actually very helpful.

TIP: take the name of the individual who advises you and keep it.

or make your Accountant do it. :icon_notworthy:
 
#13
I agree - but they would be very stupid not to pay it to HMRC. You dont mess with them! Besides... the companies that are VAT registered only claim it back. The only people that would lose out are those that are not. In fact the HMRC could be making on the deal if everyone is paying it.
If this is the case isn't the printing company that is charging VAT unnecessarily benefitting from it??
 
#17
Hi

I've just registered specifically with a VAT problem!

I'm self employed and had some Christmas cards printed for a charity, which came with envelopes and were then shrink wrapped in packs of ten. The charity is selling them to raise funds and they are ephemeral in nature (although some people have said the charity aspect is irrelevant).

Before proceeding I asked the printer if they were zero rated or not. He confirmed they were.

Invoice arrived, paid it, sorted.

Then the client wanted a reprint and this time they are saying they were wrong to charge no VAT and the new invoice includes it.

So, what's the deal on this job?
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#18
Hi

I've just registered specifically with a VAT problem!

I'm self employed and had some Christmas cards printed for a charity, which came with envelopes and were then shrink wrapped in packs of ten. The charity is selling them to raise funds and they are ephemeral in nature (although some people have said the charity aspect is irrelevant).

Before proceeding I asked the printer if they were zero rated or not. He confirmed they were.

Invoice arrived, paid it, sorted.

Then the client wanted a reprint and this time they are saying they were wrong to charge no VAT and the new invoice includes it.

So, what's the deal on this job?
Greetings Cards are standard rated (vatable), if they didn't know this first time round makes me wonder how long they have been in business, this is one of the easy products to get right.
 
#20
There are exceptions. Even leaflets can be VAT-able if you write on them, and flyers etc etc.
If you are printing an A7 flyer there isnt any VAT, if you are printing an A7 appointment card, there is...

you certainly cant charge VAT across the board, could get you into trouble if the customer knows a thing or two about print.

Thank you for the list though, as a rule of thumb its certainly useful.