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The UK VAT Rules For Leaflets and Other Printed Material

Paying VAT on printed items is depended on a range of factors, and the UK Government’s rules for VAT on printed material isn’t always easy to understand. PMD Creative break down the main points to remember for UK VAT rules for printed leaflets, flyers brochures etc.

Size, Format, Content and Intended Use

Paying VAT on printed items such as letterheads, business cards, compliment slips, posters, invitations, greeting cards and tickets is set as standard VAT rate by the HM Customs and Revenue (HMCR). But, there are exceptions to this. The majority of brochures, leaflets, books, booklets and pamphlets are VAT zero rated, meaning you pay no VAT on them.


Is your document intended to be written on?

A form or section that is to be filled in and returned back to you by your customer, then it may be classed as VAT standard rated.

Does your document offer a discount?

Is your leaflet offering a 10% discount on items? Is your pamphlet offering a 15% discount on selected products? Then you will have to pay VAT on the document, as it is regarded as a voucher.

Does your document allow entry to a premises?

Does your leaflet offer “free entry with this leaflet”? Then it will be regarded as a ticket, and therefore you will have to pay VAT on the document.

When will my leaflet not be subject to VAT?

In order to have a VAT free leaflet, it needs to be of a “ephemeral nature”, as stated by Customs and Revenue. This means, the leaflet must be a standard, simple leaflet that is read a few times, and then thrown away.

If i want to display my leaflet, would I pay VAT on the document?

If your ‘leaflet’ is intended to be displayed in cafe or shop windows etc, then it is classed as a poster and will be subject to VAT at a standard rate.

My leaflet accompanies my product, do I pay VAT?

If your leaflet is served as an instruction manual or accompanies a product or service, then it will be classed as VAT zero rated. However, if the leaflet is used in its own right and its main function is to be kept by the recipient, for example a calendar, then it would not be classed as a leaflet and therefore be subject to VAT.

My leaflet is laminated, does this change anything?

Laminating, encapsulating, using thicker paper may all be indicators to the HM Customs and Revenue that the leaflet is intended to be kept by the recipient, therefore could be subject to a VAT standard rate, depending on the content of the leaflet.

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