Ferrets pose taxing question for tribunal

IS THE FERRET a pet or a working animal?
This was the unlikely question considered by the Tax Tribunal this week in a case brought by a pet food manufacturer which argued that food for ferrets should be classed as animal feed, and therefore zero-rated, rather than as pet food, which is standard-rated (20% VAT), according to Deloitte.
Bill Dodwell, head of tax policy at the Big Four accounting firm, said: “Just when you thought VAT boundary cases couldn’t get any more bizarre – along comes this one. The tribunal faced the tricky enquiry as to whether these sharp toothed animals were kept as working ferrets, or as companions. Many of us would struggle to answer this sort of question, but luckily the Tribunal could call on the Ferret Census 2009, which recorded that 80% of ferrets were kept for companionship.”
The tribunal judged that ferrets are pets and their feed should be subject to 20% VAT.
The tribunal added, however, that: “…we think it probable that the percentage of ferrets kept as working ferrets varies according to the part of the country being considered.”

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