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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Government departments and health authorities: Contracted Out Services (COS) Headings: COS Heading 13 - Collection, delivery and distribution services

This Heading covers collection, delivery and distribution services in relation to postal and courier services.


  • Services provided by couriers, Rail Freight, Federal Express, UPS etc. The VAT incurred would be refundable under the Contracted-Out provisions, regardless of the nature of the item or items being collected, delivered, stored or distributed
  • Royal Mail services where they are subject to VAT
  • Courier services used for the delivery of specimens, materials, papers, etc


  • The VAT on delivery charges incurred when you purchase goods cannot be reclaimed under the Contracted Out Services as this supply is part of a single supply of delivered goods