UK VAT Advice for Marketers and Print Buyers

UK VAT Advice for Marketers and Print Buyers


If you’re a marketer or print buyer, here’s some useful information about VAT that I like to keep handy to advise our clients with. The rules can be very confusing, even for professional print buyers, so please use this as a guide only. And if you’re at all unsure or need any further information, please get in touch.

20% VAT on some printing materials.


  • Posters under A3 in size
  • Books are generally exempt
  • Newsletters

Marketing materials

  • Booklets
  • Catalogues
  • Brochures
  • Leaflets
  • Postcards (where they’re not filled in by the customer)
  • (Note: any tear-off portion that needs to be filled in by your customer IS subject to VAT!)


  • Comics
  • Puzzle books
  • Programmes
  • Holiday guides
  • Instruction manuals
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Printed Accounts


Business Stationery

  • Letterheads
  • Business cards
  • Compliment slips
  • Envelopes
  • Forms
  • Postcards (if they’re to be written on by a customer)
  • Ring binders
  • Dividers
  • Book marks
  • Calendars
  • Labels and stickers
  • Voucher books (usually incur VAT – but not always)

Point of Sale

  • Shelf Wobblers
  • Shelf Talkers
  • Posters A3 & Over
  • Promotional items, mousemats, pens etc.

Direct Mail
We’ll have a look at direct mail and VAT in a future article. Direct mail can contain VATtable and VAT-free items so things can get a little tricky.

As mentioned, this can be used as a guide only and there are many grey areas, often related to the intended final use of the print. Get in touch if you need any particular advice. For more advice (and to confuse yourself even more!) you can find a little light reading around the subject here.