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Government to refund value of VAT on Comic Relief single sales

Government to refund value of VAT on Comic Relief single sales
One Direction
One Direction

The Government has announced that it will refund to Comic Relief the value of VAT paid on the sales of its charity single, launched last week.

Since it cannot waive or refund VAT itself, the Government will make a grant equivalent to the value of the VAT paid when the public buys copies of the single. The grant will come from the overseas development budget. It is being given “in recognition of the special place held for Comic Relief in the British public’s affections and its outstanding work in tackling poverty around the world”.

The single, One Way of Another (Teenage Kicks), is performed by One Direction and is a mashup of 1978 tracks by Blondie and The Undertones.

‘Giving back’ the VAT to Comic Relief

The government’s decision means that everyone who buys the single can be confident that every penny they spend will go towards the good causes that Comic Relief supports.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “In the 25 years since the first Red Nose Day, the public support has been amazing and I am delighted that the Government will give back the VAT costs on this year’s single. When you buy this song, your money will change lives in the UK and around the developing world.”

The official Red Nose Day music video was filmed in part at Downing Street at the end of 2012, and the Prime Minister has a short cameo role in it.

Performances and sales are royalty free

One Direction will forgo any royalties due to them so will not receive any payment in connection with the official Red Nose Day single.

Syco will donate 100% of its profits from the sale of each CD single and download to Comic Relief.  This is expected to be £1 for each CD sold in the UK and at least 25p for each iTunes single download and 68p from every iTunes bundle download sold in the UK.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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