Partial exemption overview

By Tolley

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

  • Partial exemption overview
  • What is partial exemption?
  • Claiming late input VAT under partial exemption
  • Partly exempt group registrations
  • Divisional VAT registrations and partial exemption
  • Transfer of a business as a going concern and partial exemption
  • Foreign and specified supplies
  • Recovering VAT on share sales and issues
  • Buying services from overseas
  • VAT accounting issues
  • Other points to consider

This guidance note provides an overview of the main rules relating to partial exemption.

This guidance note provides an overview of the main rules relating to partial exemption. Partial exemption calculations are covered in the following guidance notes:

  • Partial exemption standard method
  • Partial exemption special methods

There are specific terms used in connection with exempt supplies and partial exemption. A glossary of the commonly used terms can be found in the Partial exemption glossary guidance note.

Please note that partial exemption does not deal with private supplies. Businesses cannot recover VAT incurred on costs associated private activities and any input tax should normally be apportioned between business and private activities before a partial exemption calculation is undertaken. However, since January 2011, a business can agree a combined partial exemption method that covers non-business and exempt activities with HMRC.

VATA 1994, ss 24–26; SI 1995/2518, regs 99–110; 2006/112/EC, Title IX, Chapters 1–10, Articles 131–166, 173 ; PE11500; De Voil V7.342 (subscription sensitive); De Voil Indirect Tax Intelligence, 148(8) (subscription sensitive)

See ‘Partial exemption for different industry sectors’ by Gary Campbell in Tax Journal, Issue 1094, 23 (30 September 2011) (subscription sensitive).

For an overview of the main partial exemption rules, see the Flowchart ― partial exemption.

HMRC’s published guidance on partial exemption can be found in Notice 706 and their Partial Exemption manuals.

HMRC Notice 706 
What is partial exemption?

A business that makes both taxable and exempt supplies is partly exempt.

VATA 1994, s 26, Sch 9; PE10000

For these purposes, taxable supplies include the following:

  • supplies of goods and services liable to VAT at the standard, reduced or zero rate of VAT
  • supplies to overseas customers that

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