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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Excepted items: catering: secondary catering issues: microwave ovens

Occasionally you may come across retail outlets which have microwave ovens for the use of customers to heat items of food which they have just purchased.

The trader may argue that he is making a zero-rated supply of food and whether or not customers avail themselves of the facility to heat the item before leaving the premises is not his concern.

Our view is that, whether or not a charge is made for the use of the microwave oven, there is a single supply of hot take-away food.

The introduction of Notes (3B), (3C) and (3D) into the VAT Law with effect from 1 October 2012 clarify what is meant by ‘hot food’. The 5 tests outlined in VFOOD4260 are to be applied to establish that VAT liability.