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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Items benefiting from the relief: animal feeding stuffs: animal foods excluded from zero-rating

While most animal food products are eligible for zero-rating, some are removed from the scope of relief by excepted item 6. This borderline between zero and standard-rated products can seem arbitrary and confusing. In considering the borderline, it is therefore often helpful to go back to basics and analyse the construction of Group 1 in this area.

It is a generally accepted legal principle in VAT cases that the onus is on the taxpayer to demonstrate that his or her product falls squarely within the scope of any relief. This principle was demonstrated in the appeal of Ivy Cafe Ltd (MAN/76/0073).

Item 2 of the group effectively allows relief to all food products for animals (identified by Note 2 to the group as including birds, fish, crustacea and molluscs). Once a product has been identified as falling within this category it can therefore be zero-rated unless it also falls within the scope of excepted item 6.

Excepted item 6 removes three categories of animal feed from the scope of the relief:

  • canned, packaged or prepared pet food (see VFOOD8580);
  • packaged food for wild birds (see VFOOD8660); and
  • biscuits and meal for cats and dogs (VFOOD8640).