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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Food: Excepted items: Confectionery: Treatment of particular products: Snowballs

Snowballs are spheres of marshmallow or a similar substance, covered in coconut and cocoa. The tribunal ruled on a variety of this product known as a Swedish Snowball in the case of Swedish Snowball Production Ltd (MAN/86/0305), where they were found to be standard-rated confectionery rather than zero-rated cakes.

However, in 2014 in the joined cases of Lees of Scotland and Thomas Tunnock Ltd (TC/2013/02348 and TC/2013/03025) the FT Tribunal decided that the snowballs marketed by these suppliers could be treated as zero-rated cakes. The tribunal having accepted that these products were confectionery then went on to consider whether or not the products were zero rated cakes. It considered all factors before them and decided that the snowball products in question had sufficient characteristics of a cake to be classified as a cake. The decision only relates to snowballs manufactured by Lees or Tunnocks, or identical products. The Tribunal distinguished these products from ‘Swedish Snowballs’ because the ingredients, the cooking process and the shelf life were completely different therefore this decision does not overturn the previous standard-rating in respect of ‘Swedish snowballs’.