There is no VAT on printed books, booklets, newspapers, and leaflets. Well there is – it’s zero-rate VAT, so the customer pays no VAT, but the supplier can reclaim the VAT it pays on purchases.
Printing businesses have to be very clear about which of their products they treat as zero-rated for VAT and which are standard-rated so 20% VAT applies. The VATman likes to come round and check. If you have classified your printed products incorrectly, VAT on the earlier sales (up to four years ago) will have to be paid. It’s unlikely that you will be able to recover this extra VAT from your customers.
In a recent case printed card document folders, which were designed to hold other leaflets, were judged to be standard rated for VAT, as was a laminated business card. However, personalised souvenir photo-books were determined to be zero-rated. We can help you decide which of your products should be zero or standard rated for VAT.
Beware; if the book, leaflet or newsletter is provided in an electronic form, standard rate VAT will apply. There is a special exemption for audio-books for the blind which are zero-rated.