What is VAT exempt?

Definition of a VAT exempt

Some sales of goods and services are exempt from VAT. That means if you sell these goods and services you won’t charge your customers any VAT, and if you buy them there will be no VAT to reclaim.

If you make some exempt sales, you can’t reclaim VAT on any costs you incur while making those sales. For example, a doctor’s surgery won’t be able to reclaim VAT on its accountancy fees, because services provided by a doctor are exempt from VAT.

If your business only makes VAT exempt sales, it’s not allowed to register for VAT.

Don’t get confused between zero-rated VAT and VAT exempt sales. Zero-rated sales are VATable sales - it’s just the rate of VAT on them is 0%!

Examples of VAT exempt goods and services

Many medical supplies and services are exempt from VAT. So are services provided by the Post Office - so when you buy a book of stamps, you pay no VAT.

Find out more about the different rates of VAT in our dedicated guide.

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