The supply of advertising to a charity is zero-rated. The zero-rating covers advertisements on any subject, including staff recruitment. A charity can also purchase pre-printed collecting boxes, envelopes and appeal letters at the zero rate. Low cost lapel stickers, emblems and badges that a charity gives in acknowledgement of a donation can also be zero-rated. More information can be found in Notice 701/58 Charity advertising and goods connected with collecting donations.
Any medium which communicates with the public. This includes all the conventional advertising media such as television, cinema, billboards, the sides of vehicles, newspapers and printed publications. The important factor is whether the advertisement is placed on someone else’s time or space. If it is not there will be no scope for zero-rating.
If space is sold to a charity for advertising on other items, such as beer mats, calendars, or the reverse of till rolls, this will also be covered by the zero rate. The sale of the items themselves will not be VAT free, unless they qualify for other reliefs for example as books or children’s clothing.
Recently I was asked if a website would be able to zero rated, but its specifically excluded under UK Law VCHAR11000
10B None of items 8 to 8C includes a supply used to create, or contribute to, a website that is the charity’s own.For this purpose a website is a charity’s own even though hosted by another person. 10C Neither of items 8 to 8C includes a supply to a charity that is used directly by the charity to design or produce an advertisement.
Basically research shows that you have the following options:
• Paid Content and Affiliate Marketing
• Paid Subscriptions
• Journalistic work for other media
Advertising is the most popular and is based on:
Popularity of the Blog (number of visitors)
Stickiness (time spent by visitors)
Loyalty (number of repeat visitors)
The visitors are measured in CPM (cost per thousand visitors)
Adverts are 125 x 125 Pixels
A blog with 100,000 monthly hits might charge 50p CPM which works out to £50 per month (£600 per year)
eMarketer estimates that retail sales via smartphones and tablets have more than doubled to £8.2 bn in 2013, accounting for 18% of total UK ecommerce sales. Tablet commerce has seen particularly high growth, reaching £4.8 bn. In 2014 mcommerce is expected to increase by 53.3% in 2014, more than triple the 15% growth rate for retail ecommerce.
UK mobile ad spend is expected to pass the £1bn mark in 2013, according to eMarketer, reaching £1.2bn (19% of total digital) – a 126.1% YoY growth. Mobile ad spend is expected to nearly double again in 2014 to almost £2.26 billion (32% of total digital).
Would you sell advertising on your blog?
Generally sponsorship is subject to VAT because normally the organisation you sponsor will be making taxable supplies to you because in return for sponsorship, they are obliged to provide the sponsor with a significant benefit. Typically this might include any of the following:
- naming an event after the sponsor;
- displaying the sponsor’s company logo or trading name;
- participating in the sponsors promotional or advertising activities;
- allowing the sponsor to use your name or logo;
- giving free or reduced price tickets;
- allowing access to special events such as premieres or gala evenings;
- providing entertainment or hospitality facilities; or
- giving the sponsor exclusive or priority booking rights.
Donations and gift are not normally subject to VAT.
The rules are in HMRC Reference:Notice 701/41 (March 2002)
A business can recover input tax on their legitimate costs when it:
- promotes its business; or
- provide facilities to its staff.
When a business only makes sporting or recreational facilities available to:
- the proprietor
- the partners
- the directors of a company
- the relatives and friends of the proprietor, partners or company directors
it is unlikely that this expense can be treated as being for the purpose of the business. Therefore, the VAT incurred would not qualify as input tax.
In the case of smaller businesses there is an increased risk that the sponsorship is conducted for a private purpose so the VATman has come up with a set of tests:
VIT44300 – Specific issues: test for sporting and recreational activities
Does the proprietor, partner or director actively take part in the sport?
If the proprietor, partner or director cannot take part because of injury or business commitments is another (independent) person employed to drive?
Does a member of the proprietor, partner or director’s family actively take part in the sport?
Is there a connection between the sport and the business?
Where does the sporting activity take place?
Is there extra advertising at the racing venue or in programmes?
Is there related advertising or promotional material?
Does the business name appear on the sporting vehicle, transporter or clothing?
For companies and partnerships is there a record of a decision to use sporting facilities for advertising?
Can the business produce any evidence of research into the benefits to be gained from the advertising?
Are the benefits of the advertising monitored?
Is the car or boat an asset of the company?
What other forms of advertising are there?
Has HMRC given a ruling for direct tax purposes?
Could the business cope with an expansion of trade?