Many clients find it confusing regarding the VAT rules with regard some printed items and it certainly can be complicated. So let me try and explain.
Most printing is classified by HMRC as standard rated in effect you must pay VAT on the printed item. So stationery items such as letterheads, compliment slips and business cards carry VAT along with invitations, posters, pocket folders, tickets, greetings cards and postcards.
You will be pleased to know that there are exceptions to the rule. Nearly all booklets, brochures and leaflets are zero rated so you do not pay vat this can be particularly helpful to organisations or individuals who cannot reclaim VAT. If your leaflet contains a 10% off with this leaflet type offer or free entry to an event then it should carry VAT as it can be thought of as a ticket. Leaflets that do not carry VAT should be meant to be read a few times and thrown away. Instruction leaflets are zero rated as it generally accompanies some other service or product.
Finally just to confuse us all even further a leaflet that is encapsulated or laminated is standard rated as the HMRC deems that it is intended to be kept by the recipient. Another pointer from the HMRC is that if thick card is used they believe it has been designed to be retained so again could carry VAT.
Some printers add VAT to everything then they cannot go wrong but we try to apply it on a job by job basis if you are unsure we will always try to guide you when you are ready to place an order.