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HMRC internal manual

VAT Taxable Person Manual

Particular trades: Catering: The problem areas

In contract catering, it can prove difficult to determine who is supplying the prepared food to diners. The problems tend to be different, depending upon the type of establishment concerned.

  • Where the catering is provided on a commercial basis for an outside market - for example in clubs and similar bodies - the most common difficulty is in deciding whether the body provides the catering using its own staff, or whether one or more of the staff are in business on their own account, and therefore provide the catering to diners themselves. VTAXPER63900 explains how to resolve this problem.
  • Where catering is provided in staff or company canteens or other non-commercial establishments, many companies or institutions use the services of outside caterers; and here problems can arise both in determining who has made the final supply of prepared food, and what is the exact relationship between the client and catering contractor. VTAXPER64100 explains how to resolve this problem.