HMRC internal manual

VAT Books

VBOOKS4300 - Books: Processes leading to the production of printed matter: Preparatory work

This is the stage at which the initial thoughts begin to be translated into a format compatible with printing and distribution. Preparatory work includes graphic design, typesetting and the printing of large sheets containing several individual pages or leaflets.

Preparatory work may be supplied in two ways.

  • If your trader has a contract to supply zero-rated printed matter, preparatory work may be zero-rated as part of the same supply.
  • If your trader has not supplied zero-rated printed matter, any supply of preparatory work must be standard-rated.

To establish whether your trader has supplied zero-rated goods, you will need to consult VBOOKS4400 and the table at VBOOKS4100.

Abortive fees

Sometimes preparatory work begins with the intention of producing zero-rated goods, but is aborted before printed matter is produced. Any abortive work fee charged in these circumstances is standard-rated, as the preparatory work did not result in the production of printed matter.