Solicitors ― VAT treatment of services

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Solicitors ― VAT treatment of services
  • Types of services
  • Place of supply of services
  • Commission
  • Disbursements
  • Oath Fees
  • Other activities
  • Conclusion

This guidance note provides an overview of the VAT treatment of services provided by solicitors. For information on when VAT needs to be accounted for on services, see the Solicitors – when VAT needs to be accounted for on services guidance note.

De Voil Indirect Tax Service V6.359 (subscription sensitive); VATTOS8500
Types of services

Solicitors can deal with many types of legal matters including:

  • litigation
  • conveyancing
  • trusts and other execution services
  • general legal and tax advice

If the legal services are provided by UK based solicitors to UK resident customers, the services will be liable to VAT at the standard rate, where they do not relate to land that is located overseas.

However, different VAT rules apply to services supplied to overseas customers, or in connection with land located overseas. The VAT treatment of certain legal services can vary depending on the answers to the following:

  • does the recipient belong outside the EU?
  • is the recipient an EU private or non-business customer?
  • is the recipient a relevant business customer belonging in another EU member state?
  • if the services are supplied to a business customer in another EU member state, have the services been purchased for business or non-business purposes?
  • what services are provided? For example, do the services relate to land and property and if so where is it located?
Place of supply of services

In order to determine whether a solicitor is required to charge VAT on the services provided, it is important for the solicitor to establish the ‘place of supply’. Establishing the place of supply of the

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