RCB/6/21 VAT liability of juice cleanse programmes
Revenue & Customs Brief, Issue 6. 17 May 2021
Purpose of this brief
This brief clarifies HMRC's policy concerning the VAT treatment of supplies of juice cleanse programmes following the Upper Tribunal case involving The Core (Swindon) Ltd UT/2019/0049 ('The Core').
In particular, it explains that HMRC accepts that manual blinds are considered as building materials for the purposes of construction services.
Who needs to read this
Businesses that sell juice cleanse programmes and their advisers.
VAT liability background
Supplies of most food and some drinks are zero-rated under UK legislation (the relevant provisions can be found in Group 1 of Schedule 8 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994).
The legislation standard rates 'beverages' (including fruit juices). While most drinks are beverages, some drinkable liquids (for example some liquid foods) are not beverages and are zero-rated for VAT purposes.
Generally, HMRC decides whether a drink is a beverage by reference to the characteristics set out by the Tribunal in Bioconcepts Ltd versus HMRC (1993) ('Bioconcepts'). Therefore a drink will be a beverage if it is commonly consumed and characteristically taken for one or more of the following purposes:
• to increase bodily liquid levels
• to satisfy thirst