Print

Revenue & Customs Brief 6 (2021): 'VAT liability of juice cleanse programmes’ clarifies HMRC's policy on the distinction between standard rated beverages and zero-rated meal replacement juices. 

In HMRC v The Core (Swindon) Limited [2020] UKUT 0301, the Upper Tribunal (UT) upheld the First Tier Tribunal decision that fruit and vegetable juices sold as a meal replacement were food and not beverages, therefore, were correctly zero-rated for VAT.

In making its decision, the UT noted that:

This is consistent with HMRC’s approach. 

HMRC's approach: is a drink a beverage?

HMRC refer to Bioconcepts Ltd v HMRC [1993] VTD 11287, where it was found that a drink will be a beverage if it is commonly consumed and characteristically taken:

HMRC indicate that in less straightforward cases, consideration may also be given to:

Useful guides on this topic

Food: Catering and takeaway
What is the VAT rate charged on food? How does this differ depending on hot or cold food and food consumed on or off the supplier's premises? 

COVID-19: Reduced rate VAT
The temporary cut to the rate of VAT on food, accommodation and entry fees to attractions from 20% to 5%, introduced on 15 July 2020, is extended by Budget 2021 until 30 September 2021.

Appeals: VAT
The process of making a VAT appeal largely follows that of direct taxes, however, there are some differences.

Meal replacement juices are zero-rated food
In HMRC v The Core (Swindon) Limited [2020] UKUT 0301, the Upper Tribunal (UT) upheld the decision that fruit and vegetable juices sold as a meal replacement were food and not beverages, therefore, were correctly zero-rated for VAT.

External link

Revenue & Customs Brief 6 (2021): 'VAT liability of juice cleanse programmes’


Oak ad
Are you enjoying our content? 

Thousands of accountants and advisers and their clients use www.rossmartin.co.uk as their primary TAX resource.

Register with us now to receive our unique FREE Tax Planning Tips and Advice Guide & our FREE OMB Newsletter.