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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Special considerations for certain registrations: direct sellers: direct selling methods

Sales may be made:

  • to groups (the ‘party plan’) where people are encouraged to host a selling party, inviting their friends and neighbours
  • via catalogues which are delivered to homes, distributed among friends, and so on
  • a combination of both.

Party plan

Some companies, such as Tupperware, operate through party plans in which the basic sales-point is the ‘hostess party’. The salesperson will take orders at a selling party and pass these on to the parent company.

The hostess normally receives a ‘gift’ of a value related to the sales achieved.


Some companies, such Avon, provide catalogues for the salesperson to sell from, usually by delivering to homes or by showing to friends. Again, the salesperson will take orders and pass these on to the parent company.

In both methods, the salesperson then receives the goods, delivers them to the customer, collects the money from the customer and passes it on to the company, retaining a proportion for herself.