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HMRC internal manual

VAT Land and Property

Hairdressing salons - chair rentals: what are "chair rentals"?

“Chair rentals” include the provision (to hairdressers, barbers etc) of:

  • a chair with certain rights of access or
  • a clearly defined area such as a room or floor of a building (known as designated areas”)

together with “services related to hairdressing”.

Services related to hairdressing include:

  • a hairdressers’ assistant or cashier
  • the booking of appointments
  • the laundering of towels
  • the clearing of facilities
  • the making of refreshments

They do not include the provision of utilities such as water, gas, and electricity or the cleaning of the shared areas of a building. However, this does not necessarily mean that the rental of a chair or a designed area which include the provision of utilities will be exempt - the liability of such will depend on the facts of the case.

When a hairdressing salon rents chair spaces to individual self-employed stylists, the salon’s supplies to the individual stylists will be taxable, even if the stylist has a licence to occupy the chair space. This is because there will be other elements of the salon’s supply that cannot be described as a better means to enjoy the chair space (e.g. use of washbasins, reception, waiting area for clients) - these are not ancillary to the licence to occupy, they are an integral part of the supply.