Supplies of children’s clothing and footwear can be zero rated when four conditions are met:
- It is an article of clothing or footwear.
- It is not made of fur.
- It is designed for young children.
- It is only suitable for young children.
In deciding whether these four conditions have been met, you need to consider if the items are designed for and only suitable for young children. These factors are generally based on the item’s physical measurement or on the body size of the child it is intended to fit.
There are no specific reliefs for items of school uniform; they are subject to the normal rules and size criteria for children’s clothes. However, HMRC’s Clothing Manual VCLOTHING6050 confirms that zero rating is allowed irrespective of size for certain garments which are items of official school uniform for schools whose pupils are all under 14 years old. Garments that are unique to the school by design, such as having a badge or piping in school colours, can be zero rated irrespective of the size of the garment. It would be reasonable to treat the addition of the pupil’s name as incidental to the supply, and also zero rated.
Therefore, where your client is selling a blazer to which he has added the badge of a school where all pupils are below the age of 14, that item will be zero rated. Blazers for schools where there are older pupils will only be zero rated when they are within the size limits set out in VAT notice 714 at section 4.
Further details on zero rating young children’s clothing can be found here in VAT Notice 714.
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