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HMRC internal manual

VAT Clothing

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HM Revenue & Customs
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The design test - is the article designed for young children?: Tribunal Rulings that support our policy

An article of clothing may be held out for sale for young children, but still be ineligible for zero-rating because it fails the design test. Our policy is supported by a number of Tribunals, three of which are highlighted below:

  • In Jeffrey Green and Co. Ltd (LON/73/153), a range of one-size fashion knitwear was considered to be suitable for older persons due to its stretchability.
  • In Brays of Glastonbury (CAR/78/95), unisex moccasins in size 5 were considered. Garments of this size would qualify under the design test. However, the moccasins would also fit a large proportion of the female population. Thus they were suitable for older persons, and could not be zero-rated.
  • In Nicholas Andrew Gura (trading as Vincent Footwear) a range of children’s footwear was considered. The tribunal chairman concluded that when the style or nature of the clothing did not intrinsically provide an answer to whether an item of clothing is designed for young children then one must examine the size of the article.