VAT rules on fruit trees here in the UK

Something that I came across, is that Persimmon trees here in the UK attract VAT on anybody buying them. I thought that strange as they are fruit and should be VAT free. Well here is the response from Inland Revenue.

Plants, bushes and trees that are normally used in this country for the production of edible fruit are zero-rated. Although, strictly speaking, the law applies only to plants which are themselves of a kind for human consumption, it is considered reasonable, sensible and defensible for the relief to also include plants, shrubs and trees normally used in the UK for the production of edible fruit of a kind used for human consumption and/or animal feeding stuffs.

Policy on trees

Over the years, a number of requests have been received to include further varieties of trees eligible for the zero rate of VAT. Our response has always been that it is for the trade to provide the evidence that the varieties are being grown (and are capable of being grown) for fruit production and not just ornamental effect.

Since VAT was introduced, the following additional trees have been accepted as being zero- rated:

 ·                     almond trees (not flowering almond) – from September 1981;

·                     citrus trees (not ornamental varieties) – from 21st February 1991;

·                     bay trees (not ornamental varieties) – from 1st May 1993 provided that:

a.                     they are raised as a food product under specific DEFRA conditions;

b.                     they are sold in pots or other containers not exceeding 2 litres in volume; and

c.                     they have not been clipped, shaped or subjected to topiary to specialise them  as ornamentals.

For a list of species that are VAT free please refer to VAT guidelines for Plants and Seeds


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