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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Items benefiting from the relief: seeds and plants: books

An apportionment is permitted where the supply consists primarily of

  • a zero-rated book on a generalised gardening theme, packed with
  • a standard-rated packet of seeds or plant-growing kit.

However, as a concession, if the minor article (the standard-rated seeds):

  • is not charged to the customer at a separate price; and
  • costs the supplier no more than 20% of the total cost of the combined supply (excluding VAT); and
  • costs the supplier no more than:

    • £1 (excluding VAT) if included with the goods intended for retail sale; or
    • £5 (excluding VAT) otherwise,

the supplier may account for VAT on the minor article at the same rate as the main article, so no apportionment is necessary. You can find more information on how this relates to printed matter in Notice 701/10, Zero-rating of books etc.

An apportionment is not permitted where the book element of such supply is merely a specialised instruction leaflet. The liability then follows that of the seeds.