VAT rates on different goods and services

Introduction

If you’re registered for VAT and make VAT taxable supplies you’ll have to charge VAT on them. Normally you charge VAT at the standard rate, unless the goods or services you are selling, and the circumstances in which you’re selling them, mean you are allowed to charge a different rate.

There are different rates of VAT, depending on the type of goods or services your business provides. There are three different rates of VAT and there are also some goods and services that are exempt – where no VAT is charged or they’re outside the scope of the UK VAT system.

This guide lists goods and services that are reduced-rated, zero-rated, exempt or outside the scope of VAT. It’s not a complete list and there may be conditions that must be met before a reduced rate can apply, or before it can be accepted as exempt or outside the scope of VAT.

Different goods and services – and their VAT rate

These rates may only apply if certain conditions are met, or in particular circumstances, depending on some or all of the following:

  • who’s providing them or buying them
  • where they’re provided
  • how they’re presented for sale
  • the precise nature of the goods or services
  • whether you obtain the necessary evidence
  • whether you keep the right records
  • whether they are provided with other goods and services
  • Other conditions may also apply.

There are also specific VAT rules that apply to certain trades that affect how you account for VAT, and how much VAT you must pay and can reclaim. Check the different VAT rates and find out more about special VAT rules for different trade sectors.

Food and drink, animals, animal feed, plants and seeds

Food and drink for human consumption is usually zero-rated but some items are standard-rated, including alcoholic drinks, confectionery, crisps and savoury snacks, hot food, sports drinks, hot takeaways, ice cream, soft drinks and mineral water.

Because certain food and drink is zero-rated, so too are certain animals and animal feeds, and plants and seeds – if the animal or plant produces food that is normally used for human consumption.

You can find more about food and drink in VAT Notice 701/14, more about animals and animal feed in VAT Notice 701/15 and more about plants and seeds in VAT Notice 701/38.
International trade

Goods exported outside the EU or sent to someone registered in another EU country are zero-rated, subject to conditions. You can read more about VAT on goods sent overseas.

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