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VAT consultancy for charities

VAT is often the most significant tax cost for the charity and not-for-profit sector because of the complex VAT rules that apply to their activities. From VAT liability, to the most complex partial exemption calculations, our specialist VAT team can save you time and money.

The VAT liability of your charity’s income determines whether it has any requirement to register for VAT, and the extent of its entitlement to VAT recovery. A key issue is whether any activities are deemed to be “business” for VAT purposes. Similarly, many of the VAT reliefs available to charities on expenditure and income depend on understanding that concept, and on specific requirements; getting this wrong could result in unexpected penalties. 

Our VAT team of specialists have over 90 years’ combined experience in the sector, and are supported by our charity team which has provided accountancy services to the not-for-profit sector since 1992. The breadth of our client base means that whatever challenge you face, we are likely to have dealt with it before, so we’re well positioned to find the right solution for your organisation.

Sectors we work with

Sectors we work with:

  • Academies, Further Education (FE) colleges, universities, state and independent schools and educational charities
  • Arts, culture and heritage organisations, including theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls and venues
  • Religious institutes
  • Research organisations
  • Membership organisations
  • City Livery Companies
  • Hospital charities
  • Housing associations 
  • Welfare, health and care organisations

How we can help

VAT reviews and transaction advice

VAT reviews and transaction advice

We can help you to review your charity’s VAT position, determine the VAT liability of income, advise on whether VAT registration is required and ensure your processes are up to date with changes in law, HMRC policy and your organisation’s activities. Our VAT consultants can provide you with a full in-depth organisational 'health check' or specific transaction-based advice, depending on your requirements.

VAT recovery

VAT recovery

Charities usually undertake non-business activities and often make VAT exempt supplies. As a result, even when registered for VAT, charities may not be entitled to reclaim all of the VAT on costs. We can advise on VAT recovery/partial exemption methods and setting up accounting records to save you time, including managing the requirements of Making Tax Digital.

Capital projects

Capital projects 

These are the source of the biggest VAT costs for charities and getting it wrong can be very damaging financially. Understanding the VAT implications of these projects and associated zero and 5% VAT reliefs at an early stage can save you money, especially where not all of the VAT will be recoverable. Our VAT specialists can help you with planning; from advising on building plans and construction contracts, to managing any VAT Capital Goods Scheme adjustments. 

Charity VAT reliefs

Charity VAT reliefs 

We can ensure you are aware of the VAT reliefs available on purchases and sales to avoid unnecessary cost.  

Group VAT registration

Group VAT registration 

Your charity may have formed a subsidiary to undertake trading activities. Our VAT team can advise on the potential for VAT savings and simplification of VAT compliance by registering the charity and subsidiary in a VAT group.

HMRC disputes and tax tribunals

HMRC disputes and tax tribunals 

We can assist with dealing with HMRC at all levels; from managing queries, reviewing HMRC assessments and minimising penalties, to instructing Counsel and lodging appeals to the First Tier Tribunal.

VAT training

VAT training  

Our programme of regular sector-focused training courses cover major updates and case law, with practical advice to help keep you on top of VAT changes. We also offer bespoke training for individual organisations tailored to your exact requirements. 

Get in touch
Get in touch

Fill out the form below and one of our VAT consultants will be in touch to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, please feel free to contact our VAT Partner, Socrates Socratous direct on +44 (0)20 8037 3113 or email socratouss@buzzacott.co.uk.

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