Commentary

V6.154 Liability of supplies and activities of printing and publishing businesses

Part V6 Business by business

V6.154 Liability of supplies and activities of printing and publishing businesses

Books and publications

V6.154 Liability of supplies and activities of printing and publishing businesses

Key VAT concerns for the publishing sector will include:

  1.  

    •     Determining the liability of supplies made in the UK and whether they qualify for zero-rating.

  2.  

    •     International issues, particularly with regard to electronic publications.

  3.  

    •     Single and multiple supplies where publishers provide packages of goods and/or services.

Whilst the industry will be largely comprised of fully taxable businesses publishers will also need to consider their VAT recovery position and whether they have been correctly charged VAT on their purchases.

Liability of supplies of printers and publishers

Core income generating activities in the sector include:

  1.  

    •     Conventional paper publishing, ie supplies of printed matter

  2.  

    •     Electronic publishing

  3.  

    •     Printing and similar services

  4.  

    •     Advertising services

These activities are considered in turn below.

Printed matter and zero-rating

The zero-rating for printed matter spans across a number of different types of physical publications (eg books, magazines, newspapers etc) but there are limitations to its scope and the area has been subject to a significant volume of litigation. For details of the zero-rating see V4.273–V4.273C. It is also worth noting that HMRC sets out its indicative view of the liability of a number of common types of printed matter in VAT Notice 701/10/16 at para 8.

Electronic publications

It is common for publishers to offer publications in electronic form. In the main, these comprise of the publication by internet download but may also come in CD format (or download accompanied by CD). When

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