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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Record Keeping: How long must records be retained for: VAT: Special concession for engravers, typesetters and litho plate makers

A number of traders are engaged solely in providing the services of engraving, typesetting or litho plate making. Their customers, who include, amongst others, advertising agencies, will normally be registered for VAT. These traders customarily retain job specimens for only a limited period. By the nature of the trade, job specimens are far more voluminous than with ordinary printers and retaining them for prolonged periods would create serious storage problems.

We have agreed with their trade associations that

  • job specimens must be retained for at least 3 months,
  • VAT must be charged at the standard rate unless written orders are received stating that the goods will be used for a purpose which entitles zero-rating, and
  • the written orders referred to above must be cross-referred to the job and filed so that they can be easily produced to officers when required.

The trader need not apply for this concession. They may use it automatically.