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Revenue and Customs Brief 1 (2021) introduction of the zero rate VAT for womens sanitary products


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Updated 4 January 2021

1. Purpose of this brief

As announced at Budget 2020, and following enabling legislation in Finance Bill 2016, this brief sets out the changes in the VAT treatment of women’s sanitary products (WSP’s) across the United Kingdom.

2. Who needs to read this

This brief applies to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of WSP’s in addition to those responsible for accounting for VAT on sales made from vending machines.

3. Background

At Budget 2020, the government announced that it would introduce a zero rate of VAT for supplies of WSP’s which currently attract the reduced rate of VAT (5 per cent), with effect from 1 January 2021. This will ensure that WSP’s are supplied free of VAT from 1 January 2021.

Finance Act 2016 commits the government to introduce a zero rate of VAT for WSPs on “the earliest date that may be appointed consistently with the United Kingdom’s EU obligations.” This legal obligation arose when the transition period ended on 31 December 2020. Before this date the UK would be unable to apply a rate of VAT lower than the reduced rate to these products.

4. Scope

The scope of the relief will remain the same as that which is already covered by the reduced rate and is outlined as follows:

  • products that are designed, and marketed, as being solely for use for absorbing, or otherwise collecting, lochia or menstrual flow
  • panty liners, other than panty liners that are designed as being primarily for use as incontinence products
  • sanitary belts

5. More information

Further information can be found in VAT: zero-rating of Women’s Sanitary Products

VAT Notice 701/18 will be updated on 1 January 2021 to reflect the change in VAT rate.

If you have any further questions about these changes please refer to VAT: general enquiries for further advice.

About the Author

© Crown Copyright 2021.

A licence is needed to reproduce this article and has been republished for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of HM Revenue & Customs.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2021-01-04 20:49:49 in Tax Articles

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