Revenue recently published an eBrief (70/11) on VAT rates applicable to certain bakery products and food supplements. The confirmation in relation to the bakery products – which sets out various kinds of bread that are not bread (and so, not zero-rated for VAT) – is straightforward enough. The matter regarding supplements is less clear cut.
Supplements take many forms and serve, apparently, many purposes. Those that comprise minerals, vitamins and /or fish oils which are taken to supplement one’s diet and for nutritional purposes continue to be zero-rated. If food supplements have a purpose other than nutritional (eg body building, tanning, weight loss, etc) they do not qualify as foodstuffs and are not zero-rated.
The complication, of course, is that certain supplements can have nutritional benefit but also assist in other areas, such as body building. How the products are labelled and marketed can be very important.
This is a particularly tricky area and we would be delighted to advise you if you, or a client of yours has concerns.