VAT is due at the standard 20% on any goods or services unless the law provides for an alternative VAT treatment.
Most food, except snacks (unless the snack is a biscuit - but then only if it is not partly covered in chocolate!) is zero-rated.
Is a transaction liable to VAT?
Is it zero-rated?
Is it reduced rated?
Is it exempt from VAT?
Books and magazines are also zero-rated, unless they are sold along with another item, in which case they might be subject to VAT. Houseboats and caravans above a certain size are also zero-rated, as is children’s clothing - unless it is also suitable for an older person. Insurance and financial services are exempt from VAT, but not if outsourced - except in specific circumstances. Subscriptions to public interest or professional bodies are also exempt from VAT - but, again, only under certain circumstances.
Cultural services such as museums, art galleries, zoos (and theatres, sometimes) are also exempt from VAT - but only if the body is managed on a voluntary basis and is non-profit making. However case law says that, under certain circumstances, there can be profits. Furthermore a manager can, on occasion, have a financial interest.
If all this is leaving you unsure or confused,
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