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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Government departments and health authorities: Contracted Out Services (COS) Headings: COS Heading 11 - Ceremonial services

This Heading refers to services supplied by a private firm for the provision of a ceremonial service.

Ceremonial service takes its every day meaning and would include for example, opening of a new public building or hospital wing.


  • Erecting seating and stands for dignitaries and the general public
  • Putting up flags and bunting
  • Hire of portable toilet facilities
  • Putting up and dismantling crowd control barriers
  • Hire of PA systems
  • Laying the ‘red carpet’


Recovery on goods, for example the purchase of:

  • Flags
  • Flowers
  • Red carpet
  • Food or drink for hospitality purposes
  • Fireworks that are to be used in a display