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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Government departments and health authorities: Contracted Out Services (COS) Headings: COS Heading 15 - Conference and exhibition services

This Heading covers conference and exhibition services.


  • A composite service which could include supplies of staff, hire of venue, equipment, hotel accommodation, catering etc. The keyword is ‘services’ - to qualify for recovery the government department or health authority must be receiving more than a supply of accommodation and catering, and the services must be in connection with their non-business activities
  • Hire of exhibition space and associated services
  • Hire of conference stands and associated services


  • The hire of venues alone
  • The hire of hotel accommodation on its own