HMRC’S New Controversial Tax Venture

Taxes, nobody likes them, everybody is required to pay them, and that’s that. However, there are some charges that might be seen as taking the taxing law too far…

If you haven’t already got an adult colouring book, there you’re definitely in the minority. Adult colouring books are a craze that has grown in the past couple of years, with them now even used in healing treatments for their therapeutic qualities. There is really nothing more to them than the fact that they are a more complex version of a child’s colouring book, but with increasing popularity comes increasing cost, and HMRC are arguing that these booksellers should now be paying tax. And it’s sparked all manner of debate. www.hmrctalk.co.uk


Only in the taxing world could a colouring book cause so much trouble. This bizarre claim that the books should be taxed comes after the popularity of some of them have caused sales to increase in the likes of major bookstores WH Smith and Foyles. Bookstore Waterstones has seen a 300 pc increase in sales since the rise of adult colouring books. It has also been noted by The Publishers Association that book sales grew by 0.4 pc last year, which is the first significant rise in four years. But with all of this selling success, will Britain now have to pay for its love of doodling?

There was never much attention paid to the world of adult colouring from HMRC before, seen as little more than a novelty, but now it has become a big business, and they want in. As children’s colouring books do not receive any VAT as the law, it seems that the adult versions have followed suit, until now. Arguing that the colouring books are clearly targeting adults, HMRC do not think the same rule should apply. Sales of the Adult colouring book are said to have amounted to 20.3 million.

At the moment, many books are exempt from VAT, but some are still subjected to the payment such as stamp books and books classed as stationary such as diaries and journals. The fact that some books are taxed and some are not has caused a lot of current confusion and there are calls for the system to be revised. The Publishing Association are working with major bookstores to contest against the new VAT, but if the plans go ahead it will see retailers and publishers owing VAT on their margin of the sale, and so if confirmed HMRC are owed a rather vast amount of money.