Supplies of passenger transport services

By Tolley

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

  • Supplies of passenger transport services
  • Introduction
  • What is passenger transport?
  • VAT treatment of passenger transportation services
  • Overseas suppliers providing passenger transport services in the UK
  • Zero-rated UK domestic passenger transport services
  • VAT treatment of scheduled flights
  • Transport of disabled passengers
  • Incidental and ancillary passenger transportation services
  • Cruises
  • Railway journeys
  • Catering supplied on-board a means of transport
  • On-board concessions and gaming


This note provides an overview of the VAT treatment of passenger transport services. The following topics are covered within the scope of this guidance note:

  • passenger transport
  • ancillary transport services
  • restaurant and catering services on board ships, aircraft or trains during passenger transport

If the business is involved with providing advice on freight transport services, see the Supplies of freight transport services guidance note.

What is passenger transport?

The provision of passenger transport services is, from a VAT perspective, the provision of a vehicle, ship or aircraft together with the staff and crew used for transporting passengers. Please note that if a ferry, train or other vehicle is used to transport the vehicle and its passengers, this will still be treated as the supply of passenger transportation services. For example, if a coach taking 30 passengers from the UK to France uses a ferry to get across the channel this will be regarded as the provision of passenger transport services. Alternatively, if the coach is transported across the Channel and it has no passengers (except the driver) then this will be regarded as the transportation of freight.

VATA 1994, Sch 4A, para 2; 2006/112/EC , Article 48; HMRC Notice 744A 

Incidental services connected with the provision of passenger transport services can also be included (see below).

The hire of a vehicle, ship or aircraft without crew is not deemed to be passenger transportation services and is often treated as the hire of a means of transport. Please see the Hiring goods, telecommunication services and radio and broadcasting services guidance note for further information.

What can be treated as passenger transport?

The following list provides example of when the services can

More on Zero-rated supplies: