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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

UK VAT law

The relevant legislation for supplies of Food is ;

  • VAT Act 1994, section 30, which holds that goods and services described in Schedule 8 to the Act are zero-rated,
  • VAT Act 1994, Schedule 8, Group 1 which specifies those supplies of food and related goods which are zero-rated and those which are standard-rated

As a basic position, all supplies listed within the general items are zero-rated unless falling within the excepted items or within item (a) as a supply in the course of catering.

However, the items overriding the exceptions then specify certain items that are zero-rated again by virtue of overriding the excepted items.

The Notes section of the law contains a number of clarifications that apply to both the excepted items and the items overriding the exceptions.

Each excepted Item has a separate section within this guidance which discusses the products that fall in and out of the specific categories detailed in the law.

The zero rate for food existed before implementation of the EC Sixth VAT Directive. However, its retention by the UK was permitted under the directive by virtue of Article 28, which allowed those zero rates in force on 31st December 1975 to be maintained.