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HMRC internal manual

VAT Books

Books: What kinds of article are eligible?: Books and booklets (Item 1): Part works

For some time, there has been a practice of issuing books in self-contained instalments, with consecutively numbered pages. We generally allow zero-rating for these instalments, as they form complete works in themselves. However, as each instalment may be used on its own, we do not consider the binder to be essential until the completed book is assembled and will thus not allow zero-rating if the binder is issued prior to that stage.

Another area which has previously raised concerns is that of part works. These are publications that are designed to build up into a loose-leaf book. They usually cover a special interest or hobby such as wildlife or cookery, and they are distributed either by mail order or through newsagents.

Part works are issued

  • either in magazine format with the pages stapled together,
  • or as a collection of loose pages which may be wrapped in clear plastic or tightly gummed together.

The pages are often not consecutive and are designed to be separated and placed in the appropriate section of a binder.

If the completed work would itself be zero-rated as a book then each part work may also be zero-rated. With part works, we also consider the binder to be an essential part of the book, and it may thus be zero-rated when issued with any part work.

Once a complete ring-bound book has been supplied, any amendments to it may be zero-rated.