Contact us by phone on 0115 963 2848

Style code search:

VAT on Children's Garments

school uniform clothing

Childrens clothing is normally charged at zero rate VAT. If you are buying from a shop it is easy to tell which garments are for children - they are in the childrens' section. However, when you are buying mail order, and also when you are buying garments with a logo which may make it obvious that it is a child's garment (eg a primary school logo), the VAT rules can get a little more complicated.

This page has been produced to help our customers sort out which garments they can buy at zero rate VAT and which garments they have to pay VAT on.

HM Revenue and Customs have very complete information in the VAT section of their web site, aimed at manufacturers and retailers. Here is our guide for customers who are buying printed or embroidered garments.

If you are only buying garments for adults or children aged 14 and over:

You will be paying standard rate VAT (20%) on all garments. Please order as garments for adults on our order form. There is no need for you to read any more of this page. Return to selecting garments or ordering.

If you are purchasing only for small children:

If all garments that you are ordering are shown to be children's sizes in our info/prices section (eg for nurseries, beaver groups, rainbow guides) all garments can be purchased at zero rate VAT. Please order as garments for children on the order form. There is no need for you to read any more of this page. Return to selecting garments or ordering.

A general guide

It has been a long term VAT principle that children's garments are zero rated and adults garments are charged at standard rate VAT. However, there has always been a difficulty in deciding what a child's garment is and what an adults garment is. Many children under 14 fit into what Customs & Excise say are "adults sizes" and a proportion of adults, generally smaller women, will fit into sizes of clothing that can be sold to children at zero rate VAT. On quite a few occasions (see below for details) the adults sized clothing for children under 14 can be purchased at zero VAT. The bad news is that adults that fit into childrens sizes clothing still have to pay standard rate VAT - Customs and Excise aren't that generous!

One Garment, Two Prices...

In effect, some garment sizes (the smaller adult ones) can be purchased either with or without VAT - it depends on who is going to wear the garment. When invoicing we have to assume that these garments are for adults (and charge the VAT) unless we are told that they are for children. We have included boxes on the order forms for you to indicate if any garments are for young children.

What is the Age Limit?

For VAT purposes, young children are under 14 years of age. Garments purchased for children 14 years or over have to be charged at standard rate VAT. Garments purchased for children under 14 are not necessarily charged at zero VAT - it depends on the organisation type and size of garment.

Please keep on reading...we didn't invent these rules...but you may be able to buy a few more garments at zero VAT...

Primary Schools: all garments printed/embroidered as official school uniform can be sold at zero rate VAT. There are no maximum size limits to which garments can be zero rated (ie the table of maximum garment sizes below can be ignored). Any garments for adults (eg teachers) have to be ordered as such and charged at standard rate VAT. This category also includes brownies, cubs and other youth organisations where the maximum age is 13 or below. The garments must be uniform items and they must have a logo which clearly identifies them with their youth organisation.

Organisations for Children of Ages Below and Above (or at the age of) 14 eg. Secondary Schools, Guides:
The garments for children under 14 years of age which fit within the maximum garment sizes for zero VAT (table below) can be purchased at zero VAT (assuming that the logo on the garments clearly identifies them as a school/youth organisation). These garments have to be indicated as young children's garments when ordering. Clothing for larger children under 14, where the garment does not fit into the maximum sizes below, will have to be purchased at standard rate VAT. Adult sized garments for children 14 years or over will be charged at standard rate VAT.

Organisations which contain only adults and/or children over 14 years of age eg companies, venture scouts:
All garments for adults and children aged 14 or over must be purchased at standard rate VAT.

Organisations which are not primarily youth organisations, but may contain a few young children eg ramblers clubs, church groups:
Garments which are shown as childrens sizes on our price list can be purchased at zero rate VAT. All other garments must be purchased at standard rate VAT.

Table of Maximum Garment Sizes for Zero Rate VAT for our Welbeck range garments
The sizes shown below (and any smaller sizes) can be purchased at zero rate VAT if they are to be purchased for children under 14 years of age and they are for a school/youth organisation which spans the age limit of 14 years. The garments for these children must be identified as garments for young children at the time of placing the order.

XS Sweatshirts (W10), V-Neck Sweatshirts (W11), Hooded Sweatshirts (W12), Girls Sweatshirt Cardigans (W13) , Jogging Trousers (W19), Shorts (W20)
S T-Shirts (STS), Open Hem Sweatshirts (W15), Sweatshirts with Collar (W16), Rugby Shirts (W46), Drill Training Tops (W44), Full Zip Fleece Jackets (W51), Fleece Body Warmers/Gilets (W54)
36" Polo Shirts (W40), V-Neck Sweaters (W61)
No Adults Sizes can be Purchased at Zero Rate VAT in the Following Garments (unless for primary schools etc):
Short zip Fleece Jacket, Open Hem Fleece Jacket, Ladies Long Sweatshirt Cardigan, Ladies Fleece Cardigan

Notes :

Please note that this is only our guide to the VAT regulations, affecting the garments we supply. We can only charge zero-rate on garments where the order quantity of young children's garments seems reasonable for the organisation type. The VAT regulations can be changed at any time, without warning. We will make an administrative charge of £10.00 for any re-invoicing of orders due to alterations of adults into young children's garments and vice versa for VAT charging purposes.

Copyright Welbeck Sports 2011