This notice cancels and replaces Notice 744A (March 2002). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.1 of this notice.
1.1 What is this notice about?
This notice explains the place of supply rules for passenger transport and the zero-rating of public passenger transport supplied in the UK.
This notice has been reviewed to take into account the changes made in the 2009 Finance Act which brought in substantial changes to the place of supply of services rules from 1 January 2010, in the case of passenger transportation the changes are marginal.
The technical content is largely unchanged but some clarifications have been added to paragraphs 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.6, 4.7. Section 6 has been amended as the ‘concession’ referred to is enshrined in legislation.
1.2 What do you mean by passenger transport services?
Passenger transport services are supplied when a vehicle, ship or aircraft is provided together with a driver or crew, for the carriage of passengers. This may also include any incidental services (see section 9).
If you hire a vehicle, ship or aircraft without a driver or crew or a ship or aircraft under charter arrangements, then you do not supply passenger transport services, but a means of transport. Notice 744C Ships, aircraft and associated services explains chartering in more detail.
2. VAT treatment of passenger transport services
2.1 What is the liability of passenger transport services?
Passenger transport services supplied in the UK (including its territorial waters) can be either:
- zero-rated (but you must keep evidence to substantiate zero-rating), or
You can zero-rate the transport of passengers …
But not the transport of passengers …
- from a place within to a place outside the UK or vice versa to the extent those services are supplied in the UK (see section 3)
- in any vehicle, ship or aircraft designed or adapted to carry not less than 10 passengers to the extent those services are supplied in the UK (see section 4)
- on any scheduled flight (see section 5)
- with disabilities in some cases (see section 6)
- by the Post Office Company (see section 7).
- to, from or within a place of entertainment, recreation or amusement or a place of cultural, scientific, historical or similar interest, if you are also the person supplying the right of admission to that place (see section 8)
- in any vehicle between a car park and an airport terminal, if you are also connected with the person providing the car parking (see section 8)
- in an aircraft when the flight is advertised or held out to be for the purpose of providing entertainment, recreation or amusement, the experience of flying or the experience of flying in a particular aircraft (see section 8).
2.2 What services are not regarded as transport of passengers?
The following are not regarded as transport of passengers:
- donkey rides and similar rides
- novelty rides on miniature and model railways, ghost trains, roundabouts, dippers and other fairground equipment and similar attractions
- the hire of a vehicle without a driver
- the service of a driver alone, and
- the supply of any vehicle with or without crew for a non-passenger service, for example to make a film or carry goods.
2.3 Can I treat the transport of vehicles on ships trains etc as passenger transport?
If you transport or ferry vehicles on ships, trains or other forms of transport you supply passenger transport services when your transport meets the conditions at paragraph 2.1 and:
- transport the vehicles with passengers, e.g. coach or bus. It does not matter whether or not you are charging them the private car rate. The supply will be zero-rated provided your transport meets the conditions set out in paragraph 1.2
- transport vehicles with drivers or passengers charged under the private car rate, including motorcycles, cars, caravans and trailers. This supply may be zero-rated provided your transport meets the conditions set out in paragraph 2.1, or
- transport small commercial vehicles charged under the private car rate whether carrying passengers or freight. This supply may be zero-rated provided your transport meets the conditions set out in paragraph 2.1.
2.4 When do I treat the transport of vehicles on ships, trains etc. as freight transport?
You will be providing freight transport if:
- you transport or ferry vehicles on ships, and
- the vehicles are unaccompanied or without passengers.
You can find further information on the liability of freight in Notice 744B Freight transport.
2.5 Supplying a vehicle ship or aircraft with a driver or crew who are not your employees
In order to treat these supplies as passenger transport, you have to show that you are supplying the vehicles with a driver or crew. You can only do this if you keep all the following records:
- current information for each driver in your register, including names, addresses and driving licence information
- references which have been requested and taken up for each of the drivers
- assessments for the drivers, showing they have been trained for minibus driving
- details of any identity cards showing that the drivers are working for you
- evidence of a ‘job description’ for the drivers
- evidence that these records are regularly up-dated at least annually for example
- evidence that you have some control over the driver allocated to the various journeys made. This means you should be able to show that you have approved the driver for a particular journey and you decide over the choice of the driver used.
3. Place of supply of passenger transport
3.1 How is the place of supply of passenger transport determined?
The place of supply of passenger transport services is determined according to where the transport physically takes place. If it takes place:
- inside the UK the supplies are all within the scope of UK VAT
- both inside and outside the UK, the element that takes place within the UK is within the scope of UK VAT (see paragraph 3.2), or
- outside the UK the supplies are outside the scope of UK VAT (see item 3.3).
3.2 What is the VAT liability of passenger transport that takes place both inside and outside the UK?
Passenger transport that takes place both inside and outside the UK is zero-rated to the extent the transport takes place within the UK, irrespective of the carrying capacity of the vehicle, ship or aircraft. It applies to:
- single and return journeys, as long as the transport is scheduled to stop, put-in or land in another country, and
- journeys to or from oil rigs situated outside UK territorial waters.
But does not apply to:
- journeys, which begin, and end in UK, but take place partly outside the UK (without a scheduled stop). This applies even if the journey is part of a longer journey involving travel to or from another country, and
- certain passenger transport services in connection with recreational activities and airport car parks - see section 8.
- where a ferry transports passengers from Northern Ireland to Scotland (or vice versa), the supply is treated as taking place wholly in the UK, even though part of the journey might take place in international, or Irish waters, or
- where a ferry transports passengers from Liverpool to Dublin the part of the journey that takes place within UK waters is zero-rated, the part of the journey outside UK waters is outside the scope of UK VAT
- where a coach transports passengers from Northern Ireland to France, crossing the Irish sea between Ireland and Wales the section of the journey that takes place transiting Ireland is deemed to take place wholly within the UK.
3.3 What about transport services that occur outside the UK?
If these occur in …
then you may …
- have to register for VAT in those member states and account for VAT at the relevant rate accordingly
- if you do not have an establishment in those member states, you may need to appoint a local tax representative to account for the VAT there on your behalf.
- countries out side the EU
- be liable to account for any tax in those countries that is applicable on these services.
- in international airspace or waters
- not have to account for any tax on that part of the supply in any country.
3.4 What if I provide passenger transport in the UK but I belong outside the UK?
If you belong outside the UK, you have two options:
If you are…
not registered for VAT in the UK and your customer is registered for UK VAT
your customer can account for VAT on your supplies under the reverse charge procedure – see Notice 741 Place of Supply of Services.
not registered for VAT in the UK and your customer is not registered for UK VAT,
you are liable to account for the VAT in the UK and you must register for VAT in the UK, if your supplies exceed the VAT registration threshold - see Notice
700/1 Should I be registered for VAT?
3.5 How is the supply of a pleasure cruise treated?
If you provide a pleasure cruise, it may be treated as a single supply of passenger transport. If so, the element that takes place in the UK falls within the scope of UK VAT (see section 10).
4. Zero-rating passenger transport
4.1 In what circumstances can I zero-rate domestic passenger transport?
You can zero-rate domestic passenger transport in any vehicle, ship or aircraft that has at least 10 seats, including those for the driver and crew, unless the supplies are exceptions from the zero rates (see section 8). The zero-rated domestic passenger transport will also include:
- pleasure cruises (see section 10)
- cliff lifts
- excursions by coach or train (including steam railways)
- horse drawn buses
- mystery coach or boat trips
- sightseeing tours, and
- the transport element of park and ride schemes designed to reduce traffic congestion in city centres
- the transport of parachutists or divers provided it is only transportation that is provided.
4.2 Does it make a difference whether I receive payment from an individual or a group of passengers?
No, the zero-rating applies whether you receive payment of a fare from an individual passenger or a bulk payment in respect of a group of passengers.
4.3 What difference does it make if I am the main contractor or sub-contractor?
None, the zero-rating applies whether you are the main contractor or a sub-contractor and regardless of whom your customer is.
4.4 Is the zero-rating provision confined only to regular passenger transport services?
No, zero-rating is not confined to regular passenger transport services but applies to any services which meet the conditions set out in paragraph 2.1.
4.5 What if I supply vehicles, ships or aircraft with a carrying capacity of less than 10 passengers?
If the carrying capacity of the vehicle, ship or aircraft is less than 10 passengers, then the passenger transport is standard-rated unless it can be zero-rated under the conditions:
- set out in section 3, 5 and 7, or
- for disabled passengers, in specially adapted vehicles (see section 6).
4.6 What is the position with regards to transport in taxis limousines and hire cars?
The provision of transport in taxis and hire cars is standard-rated unless the number of seats is of not less than 10. The number of people a limousine is licensed to carry does not determine the liability, the physical capacity of the vehicle does. You can find further information in Notice 700/25 Taxis and hire-cars.
4.7 What happens if I use a variety different sized vehicle in a supply of passenger transport?
A supply can only be zero-rated if the vehicle actually used has 10 or more seats. If you have to substitute a smaller vehicles (for example, large coach is unavailable) then the liability will depend on the capacity of the vehicle actually used. If you use a mixture of vehicles to make a supply you will need to make an apportionment to calculate how much VAT is due.
4.8 What if I am an agent making arrangements for the supply of passenger transport?
You may zero rate your supply when making certain arrangements for a supply of zero-rated passenger transport. You can find further information in Notice 709/6 Travel Agents and Tour Operators.
4.9 What if I am an agent who buys in passenger transport and resells it as principal?
If you buy in passenger transport and resell it as principal, you must use the tour operators’ margin scheme. You can find further information in Notice 709/5 Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme.
5. Scheduled flights
5.1 What do you mean by scheduled flights?
A scheduled flight is one that runs either according to a published timetable or so regularly or frequently as to constitute a recognisable systematic series of flights.
5.2 What is the VAT liability of scheduled flights?
Zero-rating applies to all scheduled flights irrespective of the carrying capacity of aircraft.
5.3 How should I account for VAT on inclusive tours?
If you provide transport as part of a package or inclusive tour, which includes facilities, you have bought in from third parties, you are required to account for VAT under the tour operators’ margin scheme. You can find further information in Notice 709/5 Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme. For this purpose, facilities include hotel accommodation, catering, entertainment and admission to events.
If you supply transport to, from or within a place of entertainment or interest see section 8.
6. Transport of disabled passengers
6.1 How do I treat vehicles constructed or modified for people with disabilities?
If you operate a vehicle, which has been constructed or modified to cater for the special needs of people with disabilities, your supplies may be zero-rated. For zero-rating to apply the following conditions must all be met.
The vehicle would be able to have 10 or more people conventionally seated.
It has a carrying capacity of less than 10 persons when equipped with conventional seats and/or facilities specifically designed for the use of passengers with disabilities.
The vehicle’s carrying capacity has not been reduced for any other reason than to provide facilities for the disabled (for example, to carry goods) even if the vehicle is later equipped for the carriage of disabled persons.
- a standard vehicle is normally fitted with 10 seats and 6 are removed and replaced with fitting equipment for 2 wheelchairs and a lift. This would satisfy the conditions for zero-rating
- the same vehicle has a further seat removed and replaced with a storage unit, as the vehicle would now have a nominal capacity of 9 the conditions for zero-rating no longer exist.
6.2 Can I reclaim input tax on a vehicle modified to carry less than 10 disabled passengers?
No, you can only reclaim the input tax on the vehicle if it would originally have had 12 or more seats. You can find further information in Notice 48 Extra-statutory concessions.
6.3 What about ambulance services?
Ambulance services are exempt from VAT. You can find further information in Notice 701/31 Health.
7. Passenger transport by the Post Office Company
7.1 What is the position when the Post Office Company provides passenger transport?
The Post Office Company provides passenger transport services in both aircraft and vehicles as part of its services to the community. These services are zero-rated irrespective of the type of vehicle or its carrying capacity.
8. Standard-rated passenger transport and related services
8.1 When must I charge VAT at the standard rate?
If you supply any of the following transport services, you must charge VAT at the standard-rate:
- Where the supply of transport services includes the right of admission to fair-grounds, museums, stately homes, theme parks, safari parks, water parks, piers, zoos and other places of entertainment, historic or cultural interest. Your transport services are standard rated whether you charge an overall admission price, which includes transport, or make a separate charge for the transport.
- The right to use any vehicle to, from or within the above places. This includes rides such as those on monorails, cable cars and boats
- Transport in any motor vehicle between a car or its vicinity and an airport passenger terminal or its vicinity, when the car parking facilities are supplied by you, or by a connected person (see paragraph 8.3). Or
- Flights held out as being for entertainment or the experience of flying and not primarily to transport people from one place to another (see paragraph 8.4).
8.2 How should I treat supplies of transport services to a place where the public have free access?
A supply of transport services to places where the public enjoy totally free access is normally zero-rated, for example, national parks, seaside resorts, historic towns and villages, geographical areas such as the Norfolk boards, or canals and lakes.
But zero-rating does not apply when the supply of transport services to these places also includes the right of admission to the places mentioned in the first bullet of 8.1.
8.3 Who are 'connected' persons?
Examples of connected persons are:
- your husband and wife
- your relatives
- your husband’s or wife’s relatives
- your business partners and their husbands, wives and relatives
- a company that you control, either by yourself or with any of the persons listed above
- the trustees of a settlement of which you are a settler, or of which a person who is still alive and who is connected with you, is a settler
- means a brother, sister, ancestor or lineal descendant. It does not include nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts.
8.4 What types of flights would be standard-rated?
The following examples are standard-rated, although the list is not exhaustive:
- ‘fear of flying’ flights
- airship rides
- ‘Flights to nowhere’ and similar pleasure flights where the aircraft returns to the airport of departure without an advertised landing and disembarkation of passengers at another airport, and
- hot air balloon rides
8.5 What if I provide independent transport services to a place of entertainment or interest?
Transport to, from or within a place of entertainment or cultural interest when provided independently from an operator of such a place and such services, remains zero-rated (subject to the normal conditions given at section 4). Typical examples include:
- a trip by coach or rail to a football ground
- a coach excursion to a theme park
- ferries, canal boat trips and other round trips or excursions by boats, without other facilities, on the open sea or other waterways to which the public have free access
9. Incidental and ancillary services to passenger transport
9.1 How should I treat services other than transport provided to passengers?
As well as providing passenger transport, other services are sometimes provided to passengers. These can be either:
- incidental to the supply of passenger transport (see paragraphs 9.2 and 9.3), or
- ancillary to the supply of passenger transport (see paragraph 9.4).
9.2 What are incidental services?
These are services that are provided to passengers as part of the single transport services. These may include:
- accompanied domestic pets
- accompanied luggage, including cycles and prams and excess luggage
- accompanied vehicles and trailers (including motorail)
- airport passenger charges and passenger load supplements
- duplicate season tickets
- Pullman supplements
- seat reservations, and
- sleeping berths, cabin on ships (if provided in the course of ordinary transport). You can find further information in Notice 709/5 Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme.
9.3 How should incidental services be treated?
These are part of the single supply of passenger transport services. They are often provided at no extra cost. Where an additional charge is made to the passenger it is regarded as a supplement to the fare and:
- zero-rated if the fare is zero-rated, or
- standard-rated if the fare is standard-rated.
9.4 How should ancillary services be treated?
These are not part of the single supply of passenger transport services but are supplied separately. These are normally standard-rated. They may include:
- meals, snacks, sandwiches, drinks etc provided in the course of catering and supplied separately. You can find further information in Notice 709/2 Catering and take-away food
- car parking. You can find further information in section 8 and Notice 701/24 Parking facilities
- cycle storage facilities
- left luggage facilities
- lost property facilities
- the right to enter a platform (platform tickets)
- transportation of unaccompanied luggage, vehicles and trailers.
9.5 Does this include airline perks?
Yes, as well as those examples in paragraph 9.4 it will include such things as restaurant meals, theatre trips and other entertainment provided during a trip or holiday, hotel accommodation and car hire other than as specified in paragraph 9.4. These perks should be treated as separate supplies and taxed accordingly. This list is not exhaustive. The provision of perks, which are not allowable, may mean the airline is liable to use the Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme. You can find further information in Notice 709/5 Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme.
9.6 What about passenger perks supplied with passenger transport?
Passenger perks offered by transport operators may be treated as part of a supply of passenger transport provided the perks meet all the following conditions:
- they are included in the ticket price for the class of travel concerned, with no discount if the perk is not taken up
- they form an integral part of the transportation (see paragraph 9.7)
- they are not gifts of goods (except where currently permitted for example in-flight catering, toiletries), and
- they are restricted to one per customer, although the customer may be offered a choice of options.
9.7 Which perks can I treat as an integral part of the transportation?
The following examples are treated as an integral part of the transportation:
- limousine transport to or from an airport
- up to two days car hire for a one way ticket (four days for a return ticket)
- car parking, and
- hotel or similar accommodation provided that it is for no more than one night’s stay with breakfast and there is a direct connection with the zero-rated travel. For example, where it is necessary to catch a connecting flight or it is required for the night prior to take off or on the night after landing.
9.8 What about 'wine and dine' 'steam and cuisine' and other similar journeys?
Depending on the circumstances ‘wine and dine’, ‘steam and cuisine’, disco cruises, dinner cruises, wedding reception cruises and other similar journeys may be:
- zero-rated, or
- treated as mixed supplies.
The criteria used for cruises is detailed in paragraphs 10.4 and 10.5.
9.9 What about independent public passenger transport to airports by train tube bus or coach?
Independent public passenger transport to airports by train, tube, bus or coach, the transport element of urban park-and-ride schemes and journeys from station car parks by public passenger transport are outside this provision and are considered under paragraph 2.1.
9.10 What about Air Passenger Duty (APD)?
APD is charged to the airline and many airlines will charge this on to passengers as a discrete amount. For VAT purposes this is to be treated as part of the fare for the flight and will be taxed at the same rate of VAT as the fare.
10.1 How do I determine the treatment of cruises for passenger transport purposes?
This section covers sea and river cruises provided from your own resources. If they are bought in from a third party and re-supplied, you will find further information in Notice 709/5 Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme.
10.2 When am I regarded as providing a cruise from my own resources?
You are regarded as providing a cruise from your resources if you meet one of the conditions below:
- you use your own ship
- you charter a vessel from the owner for a period or two years or more, whether only with deck/engine crew or with both deck/engine crew and ‘hotel’/domestic/catering crew. The vessel need not necessarily be in service continuously throughout the period but the owner must not have the right to use the vessel to make supplies to any other customer during the period, and
- you take a vessel including deck/engine crew but employ or engage your own ‘hotel’/domestic/catering staff.
10.3 How is the supply of a cruise treated?
If you provide a cruise, it may be
- treated as a single supply of passenger transport (see paragraph 10.4), or
- treated as a number of supplies (see paragraph 10.5).
10.4 How do I decide whether a cruise is a single supply of passenger transport?
All the following conditions will have to be met:
- the essential nature of the supply is passenger transport, which is supported by the evidence provided
- all elements of the cruise are integral and it would be neither practicable nor realistic to separate them, and
- the cruise is held out for sale at a single price with no specific charges or discounts for particular services taken or not taken up.
10.5 How do I decide if the cruise consists of multiple supplies?
All the following conditions will have to be met:
- different elements of the cruise are the subject of separate negotiation and customer choice
- there are separately identifiable obligations on the supplier, and separate charges
- separate supplies are not integral to the main supply and could be omitted, and
- it must be practicable, reasonable and realistic to separate the elements of the cruise.
10.6 How should I treat a separate supply of any of the individual elements?
Where separate supplies of any of the individual elements are made, they should be taxed according to their respective liabilities. For example, a separate supply of catering is standard-rated when supplied in the UK.
10.7 What should I do if a single charge includes both zero-rated and standard-rated elements?
We will accept a reasonable apportionment if both zero-rated and standard-rated elements are included within a single charge.
If you have a question about VAT Excise or Customs duty
Phone 0845 010 9000 Monday to Friday 08.00 – 20.00.
Go to www.hmrc.gov.uk
Os hoffech siarad â rhywun yn Gymraeg, ffoniwch 0845 010 0300,
Llun i Gwener 08.00 – 18.00.
If you are hard of hearing or speech impaired and use a Textphone, phone 0845 000 0200
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue & Customs
Place & Time of Supply Team
100 Parliament Street
For general enquiries, please go to www.hmrc.gov.uk or phone the Helpline.
Putting things right
If you are not satisfied with our service, please let the person dealing with your affairs know what is wrong. We will work as quickly as possible to put things right and settle your complaint. If you are still unhappy, ask for your complaint to be referred to the Complaints Manager. For more information about our complaints procedures go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and under ‘quick links’ select ‘Complaints’.