Publications including books – VAT zero rating

The following publications may be zero rated (as provided for in Schedule 8, Group 4, VAT Act 1994):

  1. Books, booklets, brochures, pamphlets and leaflets
  2. Newspapers, journals and periodicals.
  3. Children’s picture books and painting books.
  4. Music (printed, duplicated or manuscript).
  5. Maps, charts and topographical plans.
  6. Covers, cases and other articles supplied with items 1 to 5 and not separately accounted for.

In addition, a photo book will qualify for zero rating provided that it has as a minimum several pages, a cover stiffer than its pages and is bound.

These reliefs are not specific to charities but they are clearly valuable to them.

Goods containing text in other formats such as audio or video cassettes or CD Rom are standard-rated. This includes the storage and distribution of text by fax, e-mail, microfiche, or any similar process.

The supply of text by electronic transmission (including e-books), via the internet, or similar means is also standard-rated. Such supplies are of services, not of goods, and different VAT rules will apply to them.

For further information see HMRC VAT Notice 701/10: zero-rating of books and other forms of printed matter.

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