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HMRC internal manual

VAT Place of Supply (Transport)

Freight transport: definitions

Freight transport

This means the transport of goods rather than people, and covers all forms of transport by sea, air, or land including courier services. It includes the services of a pilot or crew in delivering a ship or aircraft.

Ancillary transport services

These are defined in the preamble of the VAT (Place of Supply of Services) Order 1992 as loading, unloading, handling and similar services. We also take the term to include:

  • stowing
  • opening for inspection
  • cargo security services
  • preparing or amending bills of lading, airway bills, and certificates of shipment
  • packing necessary for transportation, and
  • storage in connection with transportation.


Intermediary services

This means the services of those who arrange, as far as this Section is concerned, freight transport or ancillary services for others; such intermediaries are often referred to as agents or brokers.


Place of supply

The term “place of supply” is a legal term and is not necessarily the place where the supply physically takes place. This is an important concept to grasp, particularly following the changes of 1 January 2010 which are set out in VATPOSTR3500. Detailed guidance on the general application of the place of supply of services rules can be found in VATPOSS.