Photography

1. General

1.1 The supply of a wide range of photographic goods such as prints, negatives and exposed film is subject to VAT at the reduced rate. The supply of certain services such as the editing of film and microfilming is also subject to the reduced rate of VAT. Certain other supplies in the photographic sector are subject to the standard rate of VAT including the supply of digitized products on disc or downline by computer. This Information Leaflet sets out the rates of VAT appropriate to the different photographic and associated supplies.

2. Photographic goods and services classified at the reduced rate of VAT

2.1 Paragraphs (xxi) to (xxvi) of the 6th Schedule to the VAT Act are the provisions which apply the reduced rate to certain photographic supplies. These are set out in pdfAppendix II (PDF, 88KB) to this Information Leaflet.

2.2 Paragraph (xxi) covers the supply of photographs ( including enlargements and reprints), slides, negatives, cine film and video films where these are produced from materials provided by the customer. It includes the normal case where photographs etc. are supplied by developing and printing from a customers roll of film. It includes printed photos supplied as a result of digital photography processing. It does not include photocopying or digitized products supplied on disc or down-line by computer, which are subject to standard VAT.

2.3 Paragraph (xxii) (a), (b) and (c) cover the supply on a commissioned basis of photographs, mounted ( including in albums) or unmounted, but unframed. An example of this is commissioned wedding photographs supplied in an album. Also classified here are slides, negatives and cine and video films supplied on the same basis. Supplies of photocopies are excluded as are digitized images supplied on disc or downline.

2.4 Paragraph (xxiii) (a) and (b) covers the supply of negatives and exposed film by professional photographers, ie. uncommissioned photographs accepted by newspapers from photographers.

2.5 Paragraph (xxiv) covers photographs supplied from automatic photo vending booths.

2.6 Paragraph (xxv) covers the services of editing of film and microfilming.

2.7 Paragraph (xxvi) covers agency services (e.g. by chemists) in regard to the developing of film.

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3. Photographic goods and services classified at the standard rate

3.1 The supply or hire of other photographic goods is subject to VAT at the standard rate. These goods include photographic, cine and video equipment and materials, photographic frames, unused rolls and cassettes of film, discs, batteries. The supply of digitised photographs or film on disc or downline by computer is subject to the standard rate. Also subject to the standard rate are photographs, slides, negatives, prerecorded video tapes and cine films other than where supplied in the particular circumstances referred to in paragraph 2 above.

4. Photographic goods and services classified at the zero rate of VAT

4.1 Printed books and booklets, with certain exceptions, are classified at the zero rate of VAT. Please refer to VAT Information Leaflet Printing and Printed Matter. A book consisting of non-commissioned printed photographs may qualify for the zero rate , subject to those conditions. It should be noted that a photographic album is not considered as a book for VAT purposes.

5. Digitised products supplies on disc or electronically

5.1 The VAT Act, reflecting the terms of the 2006 EU VAT Directive does not provide for the application of the reduced rate of VAT to the supply of digitized photographs on disc or downline by computer. Such supplies are subject to VAT at the standard rate of VAT.

5.2 Where such images are supplied on disc or downline to a business outside the State they are subject to an effective zero rate. VAT is accounted for by the recipient by reference to the rules in his/her country of establishment. Please refer to VAT Information leaflet Fourth Schedule Services.

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6. Works of art

6.1 The 8th Schedule to the VAT Act relates to photographs taken by an artist, printed by the artist or under the artist’s supervision, signed and numbered and limited to 30 copies, all sizes and mounts included. The reduced rate applies to

  1. the importation into the State of such works of art
  2. the supply of such a works of art, effected by its creator or the creator’s successor in title, or on an occasional basis by an accountable person other than a taxable dealer where —
    1. that work of art has been imported by the accountable person, or
    2. that work of art has been supplied to the accountable person by its creator or the creator's successors in title, or
    3. the tax chargeable in relation to the purchase, intra-Community acquisition or importation of that work of art by [the accountable person was wholly deductible under section 12, and
  3. the intra-Community acquisition in the State by an accountable person of such a work of art where the supply of that work of art to that accountable person which resulted in that intra-Community acquisition is a supply of the type that would be charged at the reduced rate in accordance with the above supply, if that supply had occurred within the State.

6.2 The supply of photographic works of art, other than as outlined in the above paragraph and commissioned photographs, is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

6.3 A copy of Section 11(1A) and the 8th Schedule to the VAT Act are set out in pdfAppendix II (PDF,88KB ) to this leaflet.

7 Event, press, PR and sports photography

7.1 Where such work is commissioned and handed over in hard copy or on cinematographic or video film the reduced rate applies. The supply of negatives and exposed film by professional photographers, including uncommissioned photographs accepted by newspapers from photographers also qualifies for the lower reduced rate. It should be noted that the supply of such work on disc or downline is subject to the standard rate of VAT.

7.2 The supply if digitized images on disc or downline to a business outside the State is subject to an effective zero rate of VAT and is taxable in the hands of the recipient by reference to the rule in their country of establishment. Please refer to VAT Information Leaflet Fourth Schedule Services.

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8. Wedding and Portrait photography

8.1 A wedding album is not considered to be a book for VAT purposes. On a concessionary basis Revenue accepts that the supply of commissioned wedding or portrait photographs in frames or in albums qualifies for the reduced rate, subject to the cost of the skeleton album or frame, excluding VAT, not exceeding two-thirds of the total charge of the completed product, excluding VAT. This concession extends to standard albums where the exposed photographs are inserted into the album manually and to 'contemporary' albums where the photographic prints are bonded into the pages of the album by another process.

9. Royalties

9.2 The assignment of rights in photographic images is a services and where such rights are assigned to a business in another State the fees are taxable at an effective zero rate in this State and subject to VAT in the hands of the recipient of the right by reference to the rules in the recipients own country of establishment. Please refer to VAT Information Leaflet on Fourth Schedule Services.

10. Examples

10.1 A list indicating the rates of VAT to be charged on supplies in the photographic industry is set out in pdfAppendix I (PDF, 44KB) to this leaflet.

11. Further information

11.1 Enquiries regarding any issue contained in this Information Leaflet should be addressed to the Revenue District responsible for your tax affairs. Contact details for all Revenue Districts can be found on the Contact Details page.

pdfAppendix I (PDF, 44KB)

pdfAppendix II (PDF,88KB )

This leaflet is issued by

VAT Interpretation Branch,
Indirect Taxes Division,
Dublin Castle.

January 2010

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