VAT - What's the difference between zero rated and exempt items?

Zero-rated items are goods on which the Government charge VAT but the rate is currently set to zero. The goods covered by this classification are items such as children’s clothes and footwear, water, basic foods, books and newspapers.

Exempt items are goods on which no VAT is paid or charged, but which still need to be recorded on the VAT Return. The goods covered by this classification are items such as land, postal services, health services, betting and gaming.

If you’re unsure about which VAT code to use for goods or services, please contact HMRC.