Guidance

VAT on admission charges to attractions

Check which attractions are eligible for the temporary reduced rate of VAT from 15 July 2020.

As announced at budget 2021, the government will be legislating to:

  • extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% until 30 September 2021
  • prepare for a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022

The supplies to which the temporary reduced rates will apply remain the same.

A new temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% was announced on 8 July 2020 for admission to certain attractions. This temporary rate will apply from 15 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Who this applies to

This applies to businesses that make supplies of admissions that are currently taxable at the standard rate. This includes:

  • shows
  • theatres
  • circuses
  • fairs
  • amusement parks
  • concerts
  • museums
  • zoos
  • cinemas
  • exhibitions
  • similar cultural events and facilities

Examples of where the reduced rate may apply could be attractions such as:

  • a planetarium
  • botanical gardens
  • studio tours
  • factory tours

It does not include any supplies that are exempt under Items 1 or 2 of Group 13 of Schedule 9 to VAT Act 1994.

The temporary reduced rate does not apply to admission to sporting events.

This temporary reduced rate only applies to admission fees.

However, where goods are part of the admission fee and are incidental to the main supply, the whole supply is eligible for the temporary reduced rate.

Further information can be found in paragraph 8.1 of VAT guide: VAT Notice 700.

Supplies which include other incidental supplies

If the main supply is the admission fee to one of the attractions listed above and any other supplies included are incidental, the whole supply will be eligible for the temporary reduced rate. It is the responsibility of each taxpayer to demonstrate that its supplies are eligible for the temporary reduced rate.

Example 1 :

The supply of admission to a tour of a brewery or distillery includes an incidental supply of food and drink as part of the tour. This will be a single supply and will benefit from the temporary reduced rate. However, if the provision of food and drink is the main purpose of the supply, it would not qualify.

Example 2:

The supply of admission to an event such as an exhibition that includes an incidental supply of a brochure or activity book, would be a single reduced rated supply.

Live online performances

If an admission fee is charged to view an online live performance (not a pre-recorded event), this may be eligible for the temporary reduced rate of VAT. This depends on the circumstances in each case and is subject to the fee not already being covered by the Cultural VAT exemption.

When considering the correct VAT liability, you should also check the HMRC Public Notice 741A ‘Place of Supply of Services’, which also includes links to relevant guidance on digital services.

Published 9 July 2020
Last updated 3 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have added information about government legislating to extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT.

  2. This notice has been updated to reflect that the VAT reduced rate for tourism and hospitality has been extended to 31 March 2021.

  3. First published.