fb

Does it matter if your food is hot or cold?

Now I’m not talking about the nutritional benefits of food. No, I’m talking about the cost to you of purchasing food.

The recent tax budget in the UK has caused a bit of a debate.

The background to matters is that, as is the case in a lot of countries, when food is sold in the UK it is zero rated for VAT purposes. In other words, there is no VAT charged on it.

The exception to this is any food which is sold as a “supply in the course of catering”. This means that whilst “food” bought at a supermarket does not have VAT added to it, food bought at a restaurant or at a takeaway does have VAT applied to it as it is a “supply in the course of catering”. The adding of the VAT to the cost obviously makes it more expensive to the individual customer.

So far it’s all fairly clear with in general terms, food having VAT added to it if it is to be consumed immediately whilst food purchased to eat later doesn’t have VAT added to it.

There have however been certain types of food which have had a somewhat “confused” existence.

“Pasties” for example are in effect meat and vegetable filled types of pie which originate from the south-west part of England. People would often buy pasties from bakeries just as they had been baked and the question was whether these items were food to be taken home to be eaten later (VAT zero rated) or food that was to be consumed immediately (VAT standard rated).

To date, the treatment has been one of zero rating but in the recent budget the government announced a proposal that any food sold above the ambient air temperature would be liable to VAT at the standard rate.

This would mean that if people bought a pasty that had just been cooked they would have to pay the VAT even if they were going to eat it several hours later at home after it had cooled down.

Whilst the additional tax revenue that would be generated by this approach would be relatively small, the amount of publicity that this is getting in the UK is significant.

The tax authorities issued a consultative document on budget day called “VAT: addressing borderline anomalies” and within this was the topic of hot take away food.

Because it’s a consultative document it’s not actually law at the moment. Instead, people can comment on the issue prior to it becoming law and there may well be some changes.

The closing date for comments on this is 4 May 2012 and no doubt there will be lots of pasty lovers closely watching the outcome.

Share this entry

Recent articles

View All Articles
PwC Australia and the “Rule of Three”
Sep 21, 2023
Title
PwC Australia and the “Rule of Three”
Excerpt

As the future business leaders of tomorrow, it’s crucial for students to stay updated on key developments in […]

CIMA VS ACCA: which is best for you? (and what about CMA?)
Sep 15, 2023
Title
CIMA VS ACCA: which is best for you? (and what about CMA?)
Excerpt

When it comes to a career in accounting or finance, deciding which professional qualification to pursue can be […]

How’s your lipstick?
Sep 12, 2023
Title
How’s your lipstick?
Excerpt

In the world of business, understanding consumer behavior is crucial. The “lipstick effect” offers a fascinating glimpse into […]

How an online Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course can advance your career.
Sep 05, 2023
Title
How an online Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course can advance your career.
Excerpt

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, professionals are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves and advance […]

Waiting for your ACCA exam results…
Sep 01, 2023
Title
Waiting for your ACCA exam results…
Excerpt

Waiting for the results of your ACCA exams can be an incredibly stressful time. The uncertainty, the anticipation, […]

APM vs AFM ACCA: which path suits your career goals?
Aug 30, 2023
Title
APM vs AFM ACCA: which path suits your career goals?
Excerpt

“Which is easier – Advanced Performance Management (APM) or Advanced Financial Management (AFM)?”

ROI: how enrolling employees on ACCA courses will yield long-term business success
Aug 18, 2023
Title
ROI: how enrolling employees on ACCA courses will yield long-term business success
Excerpt

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is one of the most respected global accounting qualifications. Organisations across […]

Would Michael Porter sleep in this bed?
Aug 14, 2023
Title
Would Michael Porter sleep in this bed?
Excerpt

Management theories play a significant role in guiding corporate strategy. And when it comes to strategy and management […]