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VAT Tribunal Verdict: When it Looks and Tastes Like a Crisp, It Is a Crisp!

30 January 2024


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In a recent landmark decision, the First Tier VAT Tribunal made a resolute ruling regarding Walkers mini poppadoms from their "Sensation" range. Contrary to Walkers' claim of zero-rating as food, the Tribunal classified these mini poppadoms as standard rate crisps, aligning them with other confectionery and snacks. The written verdict humorously emphasised that the name of a product does not always accurately describe its nature, drawing an entertaining analogy with Monster Munch not being exclusive to monsters.

Despite Walkers' attempt to differentiate their product by highlighting its lower potato content and its common usage with dips, the Tribunal didn’t change its decision. Walkers are now open to potentially appeal this verdict to an Upper Tribunal.

This ruling has broader implications for the food industry, highlighting the importance of a precise classification system for VAT purposes. It also serves as a reminder to businesses that naming items alone may not be sufficient to determine tax liabilities.

Identifying the VAT status of food products continues to be a complex task, and we advise all businesses to consult with an expert to avoid any uncertainties regarding VAT-related issues. Contact our Indirect Tax team members for further information.