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HMRC internal manual

VAT Transport

HM Revenue & Customs
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Transport and related services connected with imports and exports: Live animals

Specialised storage and handling services are necessary for imported and exported live animals, in connection with their transport in the UK from or to the place of importation or exportation. Examples of services zero-rated under item 11(a) are:

  • stabling, kennelling, accommodation, boarding etc whether under quarantine or otherwise. The provision of feeding, watering, security, straw for bedding and general care by the trader providing the stabling etc are not separate supplies whether or not a separate charge is raised.
  • “Lairage”. This is the term used to describe the period of rest, usually on the quayside or at an airport that by law must be provided for animals during a transport movement.

There is no time limit under the item on the period of storage, but it must be in connection with transport to or from the place of importation or exportation.

Examples of handling services zero-rated under item 11(a) are

  • vets’ services during “storage” or while being transported to ensure the animal’s wellbeing;
  • vets’ services to certify that an animal for export is fit to be transported to a place outside the UK; or
  • the provision by a vet of export health certificates and export documentation.

If the animals are not being imported or exported but are being transported to or from another member state, these specialised storage and handling services may, if separately supplied, be zero rated under item 6(b) of Group 8, subject to the normal conditions.

Vets’ services not covered by the above may be eligible for zero-rating under Group 7.