24th May 2021Authors, literary agents and VAT: a quick guide

VAT and tax can be complex areas for authors and their agents. There are a number of updated rules and regulations to be aware of following the UK’s departure from the European Union earlier this year.

The position for VAT registered authors

  • Authors dealing with UK publishers should add VAT to any fees for services, royalties and advances. Most UK publishers operate self-billing systems so will deal with the necessary paperwork.
  • Authors dealing with non-UK publishers do not need to add VAT as this income is outside the scope.

The position for VAT registered literary agents

  • Literary agents should charge VAT on their commission to a UK-based author where the publisher is based in the UK.
  • Where the publisher is outside the UK, the agent’s services to a UK-based author are zero-rated, so no VAT should be charged.
  • Literary agents who act for an author based outside the UK can treat their commission as ‘outside the scope of VAT’ and no UK VAT is charged.

For more information about VAT and how it affects you as an author or literary agent, get in touch with our VAT specialist Mike Block – our team is here to support you.

Originally published December 2017 and updated 25 May 2021.


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Mike Block
Director - VAT

020 7380 4987
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