The Inland Revenue Help Desk That Won't Help!


New Member
I recently called the Inland Revenue's VAT help desk to get guidance on weather a leaflet we had quoted for was zero or slandered rated. As you probably know the VAT rules concerning leaflets are print vague and contradictory in places.

The person I spoke to was friendly enough but admitted that the guidelines were complicated and so that could not give me a specific answerer. However they assured me that if I sent a sample of the leaflet in with a written request to know if it was Vat-able or not I would get a straight forward answerer.

Being a cautious Pembrokeshire man I first called my accountant who said that they would ask there VAT expert in Head Office to look at it. Sure enough the next day I got a call back to say that the guide lines were not really clear enough to give a legally binding answerer and they to had failed to get clear guidance from the Inland Revenue. So yes, I should wright in with a sample leaflet to get a definitives answerer.

I duly sent my sample leaflet of and 3 or 4 days later got a two page letter back that basically said that they would not tell me if the leaflet was Vat able or not. According to them I should use the guidelines that there own telephone people told me were not precise enough and my accountants VAT expert could not definitively intemperate.

So much for the help desk.

What are small jobing printers like me based in Pembrokeshire supposed to do if the tax authority won't tell you if you should tax an item or not?
I've had exactly the same with them, it's like they either don't know the answer or just won't commit to telling you the answer just incase they are wrong or something :icon_dunno:

My understanding is that the only time you charge VAT on a leaflet is if...

1) It offers discount to the recipient, hence making it a voucher which is standard rated.

2) Has an area to be filled in, hence making it a questionnaire/application which is standard rated.

3) Displays prices, for example it is a menu, again which is standard rated.

Also take a read here >