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VAT on raw dog food products

S/R or Z/R on sale

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Hi everyone

I have a specific question with regards to animals and animal food (VAT Notice 701/15) - I have a client that runs a pet shop, and they regularly purchase raw dog food to sell onto the public. Having read the above mentioned notice I would understand that such raw food should be standard rated - this is due to the following paragraphs within the notice:

4.1 Food for animals that’s zero-rated
You can zero rate most food that is to be fed to animals (including birds, fish, crustaceans and molluscs) except:

canned, packaged or prepared pet food, see sections 6 and 7
packaged food for wild birds, see section 8
biscuits and meal for cats and dogs, see paragraph 6.5
General animal feeding stuffs are dealt with in more detail in section 5. Products with more than one use that are sometimes used as animal food are covered in section 9.

4.2 How to tell if a product is intended to be fed to animals
You cannot zero rate animal food simply because it was zero-rated when you bought it. You must hold it out for sale as animal food. Held out for sale includes the:

way you label, package, display, invoice, advertise or promote the product
heading under which the product is listed in a catalogue, web page or price list

And also considering the information as written in Section 6

I have spoken over webchat to HMRC about the above, and been advised that they cannot answer a technical question unless I formally write in to them.

Just wanted to get someone elses opinion on it if poss? 

PS - Assume that the above is talking about raw food that is not for working dogs, which I understand is a different matter...

Replies (4)

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By The Dullard
21st Nov 2020 11:53

It's standard-rated unless the PET SHOP (<<-- massive clue) is holding it out as suitable for feeding to livestock or humans, and I know I wouldn't be popping down the pet shop for my groceries. What is "raw dog food" anyway? I'm not aware of any carnivorous livestock, if it helps, and most animals aren't too fussed about eating their vegetables uncooked.

The idea is that we zero-rate the human food chain. Are these pets that humans would eat?

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Replying to The Dullard:
By lionofludesch
21st Nov 2020 16:14

The Dullard wrote:

The idea is that we zero-rate the human food chain.

I'm thinking that the problem here is that the quotation is taken out of context.

There'll be another bit somewhere which makes it all look sensible.

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By Wilson Philips
21st Nov 2020 12:48

It might help if you tell us exactly what your “technical question” is.

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By Paul Crowley
21st Nov 2020 17:25

Pet shops supply at SR
Even if they buy at ZR

UK does not consider dogs are for human consumption

BUT unprepared products suffer from the holding out issue.

The same line was taken in the case of Freezerman (UK) Ltd (LON/85/0454), when supplies of raw minced meat sold in small packs suitable for cats and dogs rather than (unspecified) farm animals were held to be pet food.

Pope’s Lane
The case of Pope’s Lane Pet Food Supplies (MAN/86/0148) first introduced the question of working dogs. In that case, it was accepted that the meat was for consumption by dogs (and, to a lesser extent, cats) but the tribunal found that that did not, of itself, make it pet food. The tribunal also stressed the importance of how the meat was held out for sale, and concluded that, in that particular case, the appellant was not holding it out for sale as pet food; neither was the meat (which was sold in large 20 lb lumps) suitable for use primarily as pet food. This decision stressed throughout that the significant factor, as far as VAT liability is concerned, was whether the supplier specifically held the meat out as pet food, not whether the customer subsequently used it to feed to his or her pet.

Norman’s Riding
The Pope’s Lane case was used as a precedent in the case of Norman’s Riding Poultry Farm Ltd (MAN/88/0413), when the tribunal found that minced and diced raw chicken sold, wrapped in clingfilm, for consumption by dogs was prepared and packaged but was not pet food, because the appellant had not specifically held it out for sale as such.

In the similar case of LJ Norgate & H Norgate (trading as Dog’s Dinner) (LON/89/1221Z) horsemeat sold from a market stall was held not to be pet food because, firstly, not all dogs were pets and, secondly, the appellant in selling the meat was in no way holding it out for sale as pet food.

The Tribunal also found that the act of wrapping the meat, after sale, in newspaper did not amount to packaging it. Following these decisions it was no longer possible to argue successfully that meat for dogs was intrinsically pet food - it had to be either held out for sale for pet dogs or otherwise specialised to the pet food market.'

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