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VAT on veterinary services

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I have a client who provides 3 types of veterinary services:

1) general services to race animals (track dogs, race horses)

2) Vaccinations to racing animals

3) general services to pets

The client currently turns over less than the VAT threshold, but they are likely to exceed it soon.

I know (3), above, is definitely standard rated, but I'm not sure about (1) and (2). HMRC expect us to get this right, but I can find little to no guidance online. I believe there is an exemption or zero-rating (not sure which) for working animals and professional sporting activities, but I'm not sure is that extends to veterinary services provided thereto. 

The turnover from pets will only be around £20,000-£30,000 per year, so the one service that is definitely standard rated is well below the VAT threshold. What will make the big difference is whether types (2) and (3) are zero-rated (in which case the vet would definitely need to register) or exempt (in which case they wouldn't need to register).

So, my question essentially is, do veterinary services provided to racing animals come under the zero-rating for working animals, or does the VAT exemption for professional sports apply to veterinary services provided to animals used in the sport? Or, have I got the whole thing wrong, and all three types of service are standard rated?

Thank you.

Replies (4)

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By Duggimon
05th Apr 2022 10:07

Have you got a source for this exemption/zero-rating of veterinary services for working animals? I'm not convinced it exists, I think all veterinary services are standard rated with the exception of some provided either to charities or by eligible bodies.

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By Absolom
05th Apr 2022 10:15

I think I might be getting mixed up with working dog food - it is zero rated.

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VAT
By Jason Croke
05th Apr 2022 11:50

Food for working dogs, including greyhounds, can be zero rated.

I'm not aware of the zero rate extending beyond food stuffs.

Vet services are always standard rated and that includes dispensing medicines. The sale of medicines to a charity that cares for animals can be zero rated but not the treatment, for example, if vet supplied drugs to the charity and the charity treats the animals then the medicines can be zero rated, but if the vet supplies and injects the medicine then the whole supply is standard rated even if to a charity.

Guidance here on working animals, section 9 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/animals-and-animal-food-notice-70115

Medical exemption only applies to humans, so for vets, we will only ever be dealing with standard rated (or zero rated as per above explanation), never exempt.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By Absolom
05th Apr 2022 18:57

Hi Jason,

That's really helpful. Thank you.

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