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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Excepted items: catering: secondary catering issues: principal or agent?

Once you have decided that you are looking at a catering situation, you must be satisfied that you know who is making the supply. In many cases it will be obvious that the trader is acting as principal; but it is increasingly common for the trader not to provide the catering, but to grant a concession or a franchise. The agreement can take a variety of forms, both written and verbal, and the true relationship can only be established by a careful look at the facts. It is also possible for a caterer to act both as a principal and as an agent. You may find it useful to consult VTAXPER.