Having spent more years than I care to remember working in the print industry, one of the areas that continues to be the most confusing for customers is when they should pay VAT on their print and more importantly, when they SHOULDN'T.
This doesn't only confuse customers but a lot of printers and print brokers are unsure of when VAT should be charged this leads to VAT being charged inappropriately due to confusion, or worse on purpose. Why is it such an issue? Well if you are not VAT Reg'd then you are paying 20% more for your print and if you are VAT registered, you won't be able to claim it back...if you use a lot of print the amount can add up.
I would always suggest you actually read the Gov.uk VAT Notice but it's quite heavy going so here are some simple guidelines to when print should be Zero rated.
The first thing to say is that the guidelines are very vague, there are words like pamphlet, leaflet and flyer used, but no real definition of what they are, just guidelines to what they normally are :) Sitting comfortably... let's get started.The law on VAT relating to print is "THE VALUE ADDED TAX ACT 1994" and section 30 provides for the zero-rating of goods listed in Schedule 8 of the Act. These items are Zero rated are covered in Group 3. (I told you it was a maze) these are:
Books, booklets, brochures, pamphlets and leaflets.
Newspapers, journals and periodicals.
Children’s picture books and painting books.
Music (printed, duplicated or manuscript).
Maps, charts and topographical plans.
Covers, cases and other articles supplied with items 1 to 5 and not separately accounted for.
For the purposes of this blog I am focusing on Booklets, Brochures, Pamphlets & Leaflets. The rules are complex, but I hope to give a rule of thumb.
Printed booklets, brochures, pamphlets and leaflets are as a rule Zero rated although there is no specific definition of what these are there are some common ground.Books and booklets are defined as being printed on paper or card and having a cover that is on thicker material than their pages, these will be Zero rated with the following exceptions
- books of plans or drawings for industrial, architectural, engineering, commercial or similar purposes
- picture card and stamp albums, unless they contain a substantial amount of reading matter which is complete in itself, and no more than 25% of the album is set aside for the mounting of cards and stamps
- completed stamp albums, and
- products that are essentially stationery items, for example, diaries and address books
Brochures usually consist of several sheets of reading matter fastened or folded together, which are not necessarily bound in covers. They usually contain advertising material in the form of text or illustrations.
Pamphlets are similar, but are usually comprised of material of a political, social or intellectual nature.
The most contentious area is leaflets (sometimes called flyers) these are single sheets of paper or card.
- Leaflets genrally consist of a single sheet of paper not greater than international standard A4 in size (larger publications up to A2 size can be zero-rated provided that they are printed on both sides, folded down to A4 size or smaller and meet the other conditions)
- are intended to be held in the hand for reading by individuals (rather than for hanging up for general display)
- convey information
- are complete (and not a part work)
- are supplied in sufficient quantity (at least 50 copies) to permit general distribution
- are printed on limp paper
- will either be of an ephemeral nature (designed to be read a few times and then thrown away) or be designed to accompany some other product or service, for example an instruction leaflet
The thing to bear in mind is that if items have a purpose or a section which has a purpose other than conveying information, such as a calendar, containing a discount code or voucher, having a return or tear off section or can be used to gain permission or admission they are NOT Zero-rated, simply adding a discount code or voucher will cost you an extra 20% on your flyers, worth knowing before you get them printed.
The best advice I can give is that if you think you are being charged VAT and shouldn't then challenge it, your printer should be clear on why they are charging VAT or should not be.
I hope this has helped to clear up some of the confusion over VAT on printed items.. if you need any more help an advice feel free to drop me an email: James@ukprint.biz and I'll do what I can to help.
How do I create the prefect business card is one of the questions I get asked a lot. With this in mind, i've decided to put together a simple guide to putting together the a great business card design.
1. What the card is for. Is the card your personal business card, or a general advertisement for your business. Working this out first means you can decide on some really important content. Will it have your direct line or mobile, or perhaps a general office number? Should it have your personal email address of the main company contact information? If it's a general information card then putting on your personal information may get you unwanted or needed traffic, use the contact information to steer customers to the right place. If it's your personal card, put your DDI and direct email address on it, this makes the person you give it to feel like a valued contact.
2. Get a good quality card. chose the phrase "good quality" carefully because it's important that the card you hand over doesn't detract from your credibility, how many times have you been handed a cheap and nasty, tattered and dog-eared business card and though perhaps this isn't the supplier/contact for me. It's equally as important not to over spend on your cards. We've spoken to a lot of businesses who have beautiful quality very high-end business cards or even plastic or metal business cards. The issue this can create is they cost enough to make you think twice before handing them out, if you are thinking twice about handing out your business cards because of how much they cost, you are spending too much on them. Pre-qualifying potential customers for your contact details might lose you some awesome opportunities.
Some things to take into account when it comes to style/quality
a. Single of Double sided? - I'd recommend double sided as a very small increase in cost literally doubles the space you have on your card.
b. Uncoated or laminated? - Lamination protects the print on the card from damage and wear from being in a bag, holder or pocket so if you're carrying cards with you lamination is always preferable. If you card is going to be stamped or written on, if for example it's an appointment card, loyalty card or receipt card then uncoated is the way to go, as lamination makes it harder to write on or stamp.
c. Paperweight? - Most UK business cards range from 300gsm (grams per sq. metre) and 500gsm, some heavier types and different materials are available, lamination will make your cards seem heavier. I'd recommend cards above 400gsm to get that quality feel people love in their cards but without breaking the bank
3. Template or Design? - This is an easy one, Design. Most printers or graphic designers offer low cost bepoke design for your cards, it makes sure your card matches your style and business perfectly rather than a one size fits all. Not convinced, ever seen two people wearing the same dress at a party.... :)
**TOP TIP** Choose a designer who offers unlimited revisions and don't be afraid to offend by being honest about what you like and don't, it's your card you should love it.
I hope these top 3 tips help you get the most from your business cards, but all of this is only important if you actually use them! Your business cards won't do your business or you any good at all sitting at the back of your desk drawer or the glove box of your car, make sure you carry several cards because you never know when that once in a lifetime opportunity or contact will present itself.
If you'd like any help or advice on any aspect of your business's promotional materials I'm really happy to help, drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently had the pleasure of working with award winning caterers Satkeer Catering http://satkeercatering.com/ we supplied all front of house and back of house with uniforms so they can keep on winning awards. Congrats guys your rock and look as good as your food : )
would you like to feature on customer spotlight? send us some images and well do the rest : )