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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Special considerations for certain registrations: one-off events


A person’s liability to registration in respect of one-off events is subject to the normal rules. ‘Events’ can include activities as diverse as:

  • the sale of fishing rights
  • annual festivals or carnivals
  • testimonial matches
  • charity concerts
  • air shows
  • the sale of plant and machinery by the buyer of a defunct company’s assets.

Liability to registration

When considering the liability of such events for registration, in addition to the level of expected turnover, you must establish whether or not the organiser’s activities will amount to the carrying on of a business. See VBNB. (External users can find this guidance at

If admission charges are received, the activity must always be regarded as a business. In other cases where there is doubt about whether the event meets the in-business test, consult the Deductions and Financial Services policy team, who have responsibility for business / non-business questions.

Where you have established that the event meets the in-business test, then liability to registration will rest on a number of factors which may give an indication of expected turnover. You may wish to consider:

  • evidence of turnover from previous events in earlier years
  • advance sales of tickets and programmes
  • car parking or catering provisions
  • level of advertising expenses and other overheads
  • entry fees.

Generally, a liability to registration will arise on the forward look basis under the provisions of the VAT Act 1994, Schedule 1, paragraph 1(1)(b) (see section 6).

In most cases, the organisers of the events will know the date of the event in advance and will have a reasonable idea of the level of taxable income that the event will generate.

However, if the organiser quite reasonably did not expect taxable turnover to exceed the threshold but, on the day of the event, it actually did, there would be no liability to notify or to be registered.

Registration implications

If the organiser:

  • considered before the event that taxable turnover would exceed the registration threshold
  • notified his liability to registration, and
  • was subsequently registered

then, irrespective of whether the actual turnover reached the threshold or not, he would still be required to remain registered for that event and account for tax accordingly.