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HMRC internal manual

VAT Postal Services

Law: EU and UK law

Article 132(1)(a) of Council Directive 2006/112 provides for the exemption of:

‘The supply by the public postal services of services other than passenger transport and telecommunication services, and the supply of goods incidental thereto.’

This has been transposed into UK law at Group 3 (Postal Services) of Schedule 9 (Exemptions) to the VAT Act 1994, which provides the legal basis for the exemption of postal services provided by Royal Mail.

Position 31 January to 30 September 2011

From 31 January 2011 to 30 September 2011 inclusive, Group 3 read as follows.

Item No

1 The supply of public postal services by a universal service provider.

2 The supply of goods by a universal service provider which is incidental to the supply of public postal services by that provider.

NOTES

(1) “Universal service provider” means a person who provides a universal postal service, or part of such a service, in the United Kingdom.

(2) Subject to the following Notes, “public postal services”, in relation to a universal service provider, means any postal services which the provider is required to provide in the discharge of a licence duty.

(3) Public postal services include postal services which a universal service provider provides to allow a person access to the provider’s postal facilities, where such services are provided pursuant to a licence duty.

(4) Services are not “public postal services” if -

(a) the price is not controlled by or under a licence, or

(b) any of the other terms on which the services are provided are freely negotiated.

(5) But Note (4) does not apply if a licence duty requires the universal service provider to make the services available to persons generally -

(a) where the price is not controlled by or under the licence, at the same price, or

(b) where terms are freely negotiated as mentioned in Note (4)(b), on those terms.

(6) In this Group -

“licence” means a licence under Part 2 of the Postal Services Act 2000;

“licence duty” means a duty imposed as a condition of a licence;

“postal facilities”, in relation to a universal service provider, means the resources and systems deployed by the provider, for the purpose of discharging any licence duty to provide a universal postal service or part of such a service;

“postal services” and “universal postal service” have the same meaning as in the Postal Services Act 2000.

Position from 1 October 2011

From 1 October 2011, Group 3 reads:

Item No

1 The supply of public postal services by a universal service provider.

2 The supply of goods by a universal service provider which is incidental to the supply of public postal services by that provider.

NOTES

(1) [Omitted.]

(2) Subject to the following Notes, “public postal services”, in relation to a universal service provider, means any postal services which the provider is required to provide in the discharge of a specified condition.

(3) Public postal services include postal services which a universal service provider provides to allow a person access to the provider’s postal network (within the meaning of section 38 of the Postal Services Act 2011).

(4) Services are not “public postal services” if -

(a) the price is not controlled by or under a specified condition, or

(b) any of the other terms on which the services are provided are freely negotiated.

(5) But Note (4) does not apply if a specified condition requires the universal service provider to make the services available to persons generally -

(a) where the price is not controlled by or under the condition, at the same price, or

(b) where terms are freely negotiated as mentioned in Note (4)(b), on those terms.

(6) In this Group “specified condition” means a designated USP condition, a USP access condition or a transitory condition under paragraph 5 of Schedule 9 to the Postal Services Act 2011 which is imposed only on a universal service provider.

(7) Any expression which is used in this Group and in Part 3 of the Postal services Act 2011 has the same meaning in this Group as in that Part.