V4.220 Supplies in the course of catering
This paragraph examines the circumstances under which food is supplied 'in the course of catering'. Food supplied 'in the course of catering' is excluded from the zero-rating for food in VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 11. See, however, the temporary reduced-rating which applies to certain catering during the period from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021 at V4.424.
For an overview of the scope of the zero-rating for food under VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, see V4.217.
VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, note 3 sets out that the expression 'in the course of catering includes:
• any food supplied for consumption on the premises on which it is supplied
• hot food for consumption off the premises on which it is supplied
The meaning of premises is clarified by VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, note 3A (for which see further below) and the meaning of 'hot food' is clarified further by VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, notes 3B, 3C and 3D (for which see also below).
It should be emphasised that these heads do not provide an all-encompassing definition of catering; a supply may nevertheless be classified as catering even if it falls outside these heads (see, for example, Compass Contract Services UK Limited2).
Meaning of 'in the course of catering'—catering (zero-rating)
The provision of food incidental to another activity
The ordinary meaning of the word 'catering' (and therefore the test applied in determining whether food is supplied in the course of catering),