VAT on printed items

Client keep asking us about VAT on printed items. 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 at all. 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 (HMRC). 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.

However, you should not assume that an article is zero-rated just because it is not shown as standard-rated in the list below, if you want any guidance please contact us

Item Liability
Acceptance cards Standard-rated
Account Books Standard-rated
Accounts (fully printed) Zero-rated
Address books Standard-rated
Advertising leaflets Zero-rated
Agendas (fully printed) Zero-rated
Albums Standard-rated
Almanacs Zero-rated
Amendment slips Standard-rated
Amendments (loose-leaf) Zero-rated
Announcement cards Standard-rated
Annuals Zero-rated
Antique books Zero-rated
Antique maps Zero-rated
Appointment cards Standard-rated
Articles of association (complete in booklet form) Zero-rated
Astronomical charts Zero-rated
Atlases Zero-rated
Autograph albums (uncompleted) Standard-rated
Autograph books (completed) Zero-rated
Badges Standard-rated
Bags, paper Standard-rated
Ballot papers Standard-rated
Bankers’ drafts Standard-rated
Bibliographies Zero-rated
Billheads Standard-rated
Bills of lading Standard-rated
Bills of quantity (blank) Standard-rated
Bills of quantity (completed) Zero-rated
Binders Standard-rated (but see paragraph 5.2)
Bingo cards Standard-rated
Biorhythm charts Standard-rated
Blotters Standard-rated
Book covers Standard-rated
Book marks Standard-rated
Book tokens Standard-rated
Booklets Zero-rated
Bookmakers’ tickets Standard-rated
Books Zero-rated
Brochures Zero-rated
Bulletins Zero-rated
Business cards Standard-rated
Calendars Standard-rated
Catalogues Zero-rated
Certificates Standard-rated
Charts (geographical or topographical) Zero-rated
Cheques and cheque books Standard-rated
Cigarette cards Standard-rated
Circulars Zero-rated
Cloakroom tickets Standard-rated
Colour cards Standard-rated
Colouring books (children’s) Zero-rated
Comics Zero-rated
Company accounts and reports Zero-rated
Compliment slips Standard-rated
Copy books Standard-rated
Correspondence cards Standard-rated
Coupon books Standard-rated
Coupons Standard-rated
Credit cards Standard-rated
Crossword books Zero-rated
Delivery notes Standard-rated
Diaries (completed) Zero-rated
Diaries (unused) Standard-rated
Dictionaries Zero-rated
Directories (completed) Zero-rated
Dividend warrants Standard-rated
Dressmaking patterns Standard-rated
Election addresses Zero-rated
Encyclopaedias Zero-rated
Engineers’ plans Standard-rated
Envelopes Standard-rated
Exercise books Standard-rated
Fashion drawings Standard-rated
Flash cards Standard-rated
Folders Standard-rated
Football pool coupons Standard-rated
Football programmes Zero-rated
Form letters Standard-rated (but see paragraph 4.3)
Forms Standard-rated
Framed decorative maps Standard-rated
Games Standard-rated
Geological maps Zero-rated
Globes Standard-rated
Graph paper Standard-rated
Greetings cards Standard-rated
Handbills Zero-rated
Holiday and tourist guides Zero-rated
Hydrographical charts Zero-rated
Hymn books Zero-rated
Index cards Standard-rated
Inlay cards for cassette, CD or video Standard-rated
Instruction manuals Zero-rated
Insurance cover notes Standard-rated
Invitation cards Standard-rated
Invoices Standard-rated
Journals Zero-rated
Labels Standard-rated
Leaflets Zero-rated
Letter headings Standard-rated
Letters (handwritten) Standard-rated
Log books (blank) Standard-rated
Loose leaf books Zero-rated
Lottery tickets and cards Standard-rated
Magazines Zero-rated
Mail order catalogues Zero-rated
Manuals Zero-rated
Manuscript paper Standard-rated
Manuscripts Standard-rated
Maps Zero-rated
Medical records Standard-rated
Membership cards Standard-rated
Memo pads Standard-rated
Memoranda of association (completed in booklet form) Zero-rated
Memorial cards Standard-rated
Menu cards Standard-rated
Microfiche Standard-rated
Microfilm Standard-rated
Microform copies Standard-rated
Missals Zero-rated
Monographs Zero-rated
Music Zero-rated
Music rolls Standard-rated
Music scores Zero-rated
Newspapers Zero-rated
Note books, pads and paper Standard-rated
Order books and forms Standard-rated
Orders of Service Zero-rated
Painting books (children’s) Zero-rated
Pamphlets Zero-rated
Paper, unprinted Standard-rated
Parts of books (see paragraph 4.4) Standard-rated
Pattern cards Standard-rated
Periodicals Zero-rated
Photograph albums Standard-rated
Photographs Standard-rated
Picture books Zero-rated
Plans Standard-rated (but see paragraph 3.10)
Playing cards Standard-rated
Poll cards Standard-rated
Pools coupons Standard-rated
Postcards (whether completed or not) Standard-rated
Poster magazines (see paragraph 3.6) Zero-rated
Posters Standard-rated
Prayer books Zero-rated
Price cards and tags Standard-rated
Price lists (fully printed leaflets or brochures) Zero-rated
Printed pictures Standard-rated
Programmes Zero-rated
Questionnaires Standard-rated
Rag books (children’s) Zero-rated
Receipt books and forms Standard-rated
Recipe books Zero-rated
Record books Standard-rated
Record labels Standard-rated
Record sleeves Standard-rated
Registers Standard-rated
Rent books Standard-rated
Reply-paid coupons and envelopes Standard-rated
Reproductions of paintings Standard-rated
Road maps Zero-rated
Score cards Standard-rated
Scrap books (blank) Standard-rated
Scrap books (completed) Zero-rated
Scrolls (hand-written) Standard-rated
Seals Standard-rated
Shade cards (unless they contain substantial printed text) Standard-rated
Share certificates Standard-rated
Ships’ logs (completed) Zero-rated
Sports programmes Zero-rated
Staff journals Zero-rated
Stamp albums (whether completed or not) Standard-rated
Stationery Standard-rated
Stationery books Standard-rated
Stickers Standard-rated
Swatch books Standard-rated
Swatch cards Standard-rated
Sweepstake tickets Standard-rated
Tags Standard-rated
Temperature charts Standard-rated
Text books Zero-rated
Theses Zero-rated
Tickets Standard-rated
Time cards and sheets Standard-rated
Timetables (in book or leaflet form) Zero-rated
Tokens Standard-rated (but see paragraph 5.4)
Topographical plans Zero-rated
Toys Standard-rated
Tracts Zero-rated
Trade catalogues Zero-rated
Trade directories Zero-rated
Transcripts Standard-rated
Transfers Standard-rated
Transparencies Standard-rated
Travel brochures Zero-rated
Visiting cards Standard-rated
Vouchers Standard-rated
Wall charts Standard-rated
Waste paper Standard-rated
Wills Standard-rated
Winding cards Standard-rated
Wrapping paper Standard-rated
Wreath cards Standard-rated

For full details of items that are zero-rated or standard rated please click here