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HMRC internal manual

VAT Time of supply

Legislation: UK primary law (VAT Act 1994): Section 6(1) Preamble


(1) The provisions of this section shall apply, subject to section 18, 18B and 18C, for determining the time when a supply of goods or services is to be treated as taking place for the purposes of the charge to VAT.


The phrase ‘for the purposes of the charge to VAT’ is not restricted to defining when VAT is to be accounted for. It is to be interpreted in its widest sense. That is to say it includes all aspects of VAT on the basis that, together, they are all ultimately for the purpose of defining whether VAT is due and how it is to be collected.

The effect of 6(1) therefore is to make the rest of section 6 (subject only to the special rules in sections 18, 18B and 18C for warehoused goods) the basis for establishing when a supply of goods or services is to be regarded as taking place for all VAT purposes. This covers wider issues such as calculation of turnover for registration purposes and establishing when exempt or zero rated supplies take place.