Whether to charge or not VAT for safety boots (safety shoes are not exempt of VAT) is very confusing with little consensus from manufacturers, suppliers and customers.
So we’ve decided to go to source and dig the information straight out of our mighty HMRC:
2.Protective boots and helmets for industrial use
They are zero-rated when all the following conditions are met:
|1||The articles must be boots or helmets||paragraph 2.2|
|2||They must be manufactured to the appropriate European or British standard||paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5|
|3||They must bear a mark indicating conformity with those standards||paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5|
|4||They must be for industrial use||paragraph 2.6|
|5||They must not be supplied to persons for use by their employees||paragraph 2.7|
2.2 What is the difference between a shoe and a boot?
The British Standards Institution defines a boot as having a minimum leg height of 90mm measured vertically from the insole at the back. The European Standard gives the minimum height of the upper (measured vertically from the insole at the back) of 103mm for a size 36 (UK 3) and below, through to a minimum height of the upper of 121mm for a size 45 (UK 11) and above.
Protective shoes that fall outside these specifications are not eligible for zero-rating, even if they meet the remaining requirements.
2.7 Who is the supply being made to?
You cannot zero-rate supplies of protective boots or helmets to an employer for the use by their employees. Supplies from a manufacturer to a wholesaler who in turn supplies them to a retailer can be zero-rated subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice. Supplies from an employer to an employee can also be zero-rated, subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice.
|Before you zero-rate any supply you should…||By asking yourself does the…|
|establish your customer is not an employer purchasing boots or helmets for use by employees||- customer’s trading style suggest that the customer is an employer;
- quantity ordered suggest a bulk purchase by an employer for the use of employees;
- nature of the contract indicates a trade order – such as a number of pairs of boots paid for by one customer for delivery to individuals.