Check with your print supplier whether the printing of the item you are producing is VATable and whether their quotation includes VAT. Sometimes print companies send incorrect invoices and charge VAT on zero-rated items (ie ones for which you should not pay VAT).
The following items are zero rated: books, booklets, brochures, catalogues, directories, flyers (to be distributed by hand), journals, magazines, manuals, maps, music (sheet-music), newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, price lists not including an order form, timetables.
Items for which you pay VAT (17.5% extra) include: acceptance cards, business cards, calendars, certificates, compliment slips, coupons, delivery notes, diaries, envelopes, folders, forms, invitations, invoices, items where more than one quarter of the printed matter constitutes a form to be filled in, labels, letterheads, pieces of books not produced as a complete book (eg covers printed for later use), postcards, posters, questionnaires, stationery, stickers, tickets, transparencies.
Leaflets are a special case. To be zero rated they must satisfy a number of conditions. They must convey information (ie have a significant amount of text) and be made for hand-held reading rather than display on a wall. They must be made of a single sheet of paper up to A4 size (or up to A2 size if printed on both sides of the unfolded sheet and then folded down to a final size smaller than A2). They must be a complete item not part of a larger item. They should not be printed on a card stock of over 230gsm.
The other thing to consider is whether the leaflet contains a form. If more than a quarter of the printed matters constitutes a form the leaflet is VATable. If the leaflet is designed to be returned in its entirety it is VATable anyway. If there is a part to be detached and sent back, the detached part must be no more than one quarter of the leaflet.
A published booklet detailing a full listing of zero rated and standard rated (VATable) items is available from HM Customs and Excise.
Services such as scanning, lamination and binding when not included with a print job, duplication of photographs, design, photography and photocopying are all VATable.
Printable notes for this topic in PDF format (Acrobat Reader required):