Public houses

By Tolley
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The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Public houses
  • Types of public houses
  • VAT registration
  • VAT treatment of supplies made by the pub
  • VAT accounting schemes
  • Books and records
  • Wastage
  • Other accounting issues
  • Conclusion

This guidance note is intended to provide an overview of the VATissues that affect businesses operating as public houses or pubs for short.

Types of public houses
Managed pubs

These are pubs that are typically owned by a brewery. An employee of the brewery, generally referred to as the manager, will be responsible for running the pub. The retail sales of beers, wines, spirits, etc will be supplied by the brewery and the brewery will be required to account for VATdue on these sales. The brewery may franchise the catering side of the operation to the manager and the supply of catering services will be treated as a supply by the manager and not the brewery. Therefore VATwill only become due on the supplies of catering if the manager is registered for VATin their own right. The normal registration and liability rules will apply if the registration limits are exceeded. A pub does not have to be owned by a brewery to be a managed pub and the term applies equally to circumstances where the owner of the premises is not a brewery but runs the business through a manager. The owner will be required to be registered for VATin order to account for output tax on sales (subject to the comments above regarding catering).

Tenanted pubs

These are tied pubs where the tenant rents the property that is owned by the brewery. The tenant is required under the terms of the contract with the brewery to buy all his wet purchases (beers, spirits, etc), and sometimes dry purchases (crisps, tobacco, etc), from the brewery. The tenant is treated as a separate entity for VATpurposes and is therefore responsible for accounting for VATon the sales made by the pub if the turnover exceeds the VATregistration threshold.

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