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VAT on printed items

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by Stationery Direct, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    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. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    Great list. For our major items we list here (at the bottom) FAQs

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

    Leaflets vs Posters
    Leaflets vs Leaflets with response forms

    Not easy.

  3. steverushton

    steverushton New Member

    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.
  4. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    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. steverushton

    steverushton New Member

    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.
  6. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Exactly and who wants to give them money that isn't neccessary :icon_biggrin:
  7. Arhiann

    Arhiann Member

    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.
  8. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    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. theGicleeService

    theGicleeService New Member

    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. Cruzini

    Cruzini Member

    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. Cruzini

    Cruzini Member

    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:
  12. Azimuth Print

    Azimuth Print New Member

  13. rgregory

    rgregory Member

    If this is the case isn't the printing company that is charging VAT unnecessarily benefitting from it??
  14. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    It depends if they are declaring it, if they do they must pay it over to HMRC, if not it goes in their pockets.
  15. MJPGraphic

    MJPGraphic New Member

    What is the criteria that they base their decision to excempt some items from VAT?

  16. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    In essence promotional and educational materials - but lots of anomalies.
  17. Alexis*27

    Alexis*27 New Member


    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?
  18. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    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.
  19. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    I agree with Boss H. Seems very strange - are greetings cards a new product for them?

    Can the charity claim the VAT back (various routes to do so).
  20. opalprint

    opalprint New Member

    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.

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