Constructing student accommodation

By Tolley

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

  • Constructing student accommodation
  • Removal of concessions
  • Transition period
  • Summit Electrical Installations Ltd (TC06006)
  • What is a student?
  • Supplies of student accommodation

This guidance note provides an overview of the VAT treatment of the construction and acquisition of buildings used as student accommodation as HMRC has announced several changes and clarifications. This note is intended to supplement the information provided in the Zero-rating the construction of a new building guidance note which gives details on what buildings are considered to be relevant residential purpose buildings (RRP).

A definition of an RRP building can be found in the Definition of dwelling, relevant residential and relevant charitable purpose guidance note.

Removal of concessions

HMRC has announced that the following two concessions were removed with effect from 1 April 2015:

Higher education institutes (HEIs) - construction of new student residential accommodation

There was an extra statutory concession in place that enables HEIs to ignore vacation use of new student accommodation when determining whether they can issue the construction company with a zero-rating certificate where the property being constructed / acquired will be used solely for a relevant residential purpose.

VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 5, items 1 and 2, note (4)(d); VCONST15390

From 1 April 2015 the HEI will need to take the vacation use of the property into consideration when determining whether they can issue a zero-rating certificate to the contractor / vendor.

With effect from 1 April 2015, the following will need to be determined before a certificate can be issued.

The construction or acquisition of new student accommodation will continue to be zero-rated where either:

  • it will be used solely (or at least 95%) as residential accommodation for students without the need to rely on the extra statutory concession and the building also qualifies for zero-rating under VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 4, note (4)

More on Construction and building services: