The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:
This guidance note provides details of the VAT treatment of handling, storage, intermediary and freight forwarder services provided in connection with freight transportation services. This note should be read in conjunction with the Supplies of freight transport services (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance note.
There are special VAT rules regarding the handling and storage of cargo that will be transported in a ship or aircraft. The following are typical examples of the types of services that HMRC considers should be treated as handling and storage services connected with cargo shipments:
cargo security systems
a box charge levied on container handling services
detention of a ship, freight car, or other cargo conveyance during loading or unloading beyond the scheduled time of departure (demurrage)
loading stores and discharging empties
loading, unloading, stowing, reloading, securing or shifting cargo
preparing or amending bills of lading, seaway bills or certificates of shipment
preparing and amending Customs entries
presenting goods for a Customs inspection
services by personnel loading or unloading of ships (‘stevedoring’) and porterage
undertaking surveys of damaged or undamaged cargo
use of flat bottom barges to deliver or unload goods to or from a cargo ship or transport goods over short distances (‘lighter’)
opening cargo for inspection, sorting, repairing, weighing / taring, sealing / taping, labelling / numbering, checking, sampling, measuring / gauging and remarking / erasing
It should be noted that the hire of goods including cranes or other lifting equipment is not zero-rated. There are special rules regarding the hiring of goods and further information can be found in the Hiring goods, telecommunication services and radio and broadcasting services (rules until 31 December 2020) guidance note.
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