When does a child become an adult?  Never, some parents may be tempted to answer but according to HMRC it is when they reach 14 years of age.  Although this is based on body size rather than maturity it is sometimes possible to apply the zero rate to clothes that exceed the maximum “children’s” sizes set out by HMRC. Usually, this is in cases where there is no doubt that the clothes will be worn by children aged below 14 even if the clothes are “adult” sized, for example, uniforms for children at a school that does not teach children over 14 years old.

There are overriding exclusions that apply to some types of clothing so that they are always standard-rated, for example, clothes made out of or, extensively using some types of fur. Although this does not apply to fur hats and gloves among other things.

On the other hand, clothes are not zero-rated just because they are smaller than the maximum sizes set out in the Notice.  Clothes in small sizes that are held out for sale as suitable for adults or which are appropriate only for adults are standard-rated.

The definitions of clothing and the details of the maximum sizes accepted as children’s sizes are set out in Notice 714 available from the HMRC website www.hmrc.co.uk

We may be able to help if you disagree with a decision to apply the standard rate to some children’s clothing that you sell.

The sales of some protective helmets and boots are zero-rated.  The details are set out in Notice 701/23 available from the HMRC website.

Again, this is not as straightforward as you may think so it is worth looking at the conditions for zero-rating again.