Supplies that are not essential to a burial are business activities and follow the normal VAT rules.

However, HMRC accept that certain other supplies made by a local authority in connection with a burial are also covered by a special legal regime and so can be treated as a non-business activity outside the scope of VAT (¶52-305). This is based on the application of the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (SI 1977/204) (as amended by SI 1986/1782).

The Order gives local authorities a largely free hand in how they manage their cemeteries by laying down conditions covering, for example, all forms of memorials, including flowers and plants.

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