Taxation logo taxation mission text

Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

On the buses!

28 July 2009 / Neil Warren
Issue: 4216 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , VAT
NEIL WARREN considers some practical examples of when VAT needs to be charged to customers on expenses and others that qualify as a disbursement


  • Recharging travel expenses to a client.
  • Cleaning services supplied for tenants.
  • Delivery charges depend on the contract between supplier and customer.
  • How discretionary is the restaurant service charge?
  • Late payment charges.

An outcome of advising many accountants on VAT issues is that you get certain queries on the same subject that seem to crop up quite frequently and very close together. I call these ‘bus’ queries.

At the moment a bus that is arriving with more frequency than denials from MPs that their finances are dodgy relates to VAT charged by a business to its customers on expense items.

Are they zero rated (rail travel etc.) outside the scope of VAT disbursements exempt (credit card charges?) or just plain old standard rated? In this article I will...

If you or your firm subscribes to, please click the login box below:

If you are not a subscriber but are a registered user or have a free trial, please enter your details in the following boxes:

Alternatively, you can register free of charge to read a limited amount of subscriber content per month.
Once you have registered, you will receive an email directing you back to read this item in full.

Please reach out to customer services at +44 (0) 330 161 1234 or '' for further assistance.

back to top icon