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HM Revenue and Customs Brief 14/08


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Issued 4 March 2008

Animal rescue charities - VAT liability of the sale of abandoned dogs and cats

This brief explains the VAT liability of the sale of abandoned animals by a charity following the Tribunal decision in the case of Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home.


Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home is a charity that rescues lost, unwanted and homeless cats and dogs many of which are subsequently sold to new owners. It receives unwanted cats and dogs from owners as well as strays and abandoned animals given by local authority dog wardens, the police, and members of the public.

Subject to certain conditions the sale of donated goods by a charity is zero-rated and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) view was that only animals given to the home by their original owners could be regarded as 'donated' within the terms of the legislation.

The Tribunal found that the charity took steps to return genuinely lost animals to their owners and those it offered for re-homing had been deliberately abandoned. In these circumstances the animals given to the charity by the local authority, the police and members of the public were donated and therefore zero-rated when sold.

HMRC policy following Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home

HMRC is not appealing the Tribunalís decision and accepts that charities selling animals in similar circumstances should zero-rate their supplies.

Making claims for past sales

Charities that have accounted for and paid VAT on sales of animals that are now considered to be zero-rated may submit claims for overpaid tax to their Local Business Advice Centre. All claims are subject to the relevant time limits and unjust enrichment provisions.

More information about making claims can be found in VAT Notice 700/45 How to correct VAT errors or make adjustments or claims and Business Brief 28/04.

Further information

For further information and advice, please contact our Charities Helpline on 0845 302 0203.

About the Author

© Crown Copyright 2008.

A licence is need to reproduce this article and has been republished for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of HM Revenue & Customs under the terms of a Click-Use Licence. Tax briefs are updated regularly and may be out of date at time of reading.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-03-24 03:40:51 in Tax Articles

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