Public houses

Produced by Tolley
Public houses

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

  • Public houses
  • Types of public houses
  • Managed pubs
  • Tenanted pubs
  • Leased pubs
  • Free houses
  • VAT registration
  • Business splitting (disaggregation)
  • VAT treatment of supplies made by the pub
  • Fruit and gaming machines
  • More...

This guidance note is intended to provide an overview of the VAT issues 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 VAT due 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 VAT will only become due on the supplies of catering if the manager is registered for VAT in 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 VAT in 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 VAT purposes and is therefore responsible for accounting for VAT on the sales made by the pub if the turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold. The brewery has the right to opt to tax the pub that it is leasing to the tenant. If the pub has opted to tax

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