S33 bodies – VAT accounting

By Tolley

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

  • S33 bodies – VAT accounting
  • VAT registration
  • Recovering input tax
  • Trust funds
  • Calculating recoverable input tax
  • Making a refund claim

Special VAT recovery rules apply to certain local authorities and similar that are referred to as 's33 bodies' from a VAT perspective. This guidance note provides an overview of how these types of organisations can recover VAT incurred on costs incurred. This note should be read in conjunction with the S33 bodies – overview guidance note.

VAT registration

All local authorities making taxable supplies must register for VAT under VATA 1994, s 42, regardless of the value of those supplies. However, this does not apply to other s33 bodies including those specified bodies listed in the S33 bodies – overview guidance note and the normal VAT registration requirements will apply. Other public bodies should read the Overview – registering for VAT guidance note for more information on the VAT registration requirements .

However, it should be noted that according to VATGPB4920 discretion may still be applied by HMRC when deciding whether a local authority needs to register. Usually, if it is unlikely that VAT registration would result in more than £1,000 output tax to be paid per annum (resulting from activities such as occasional sales of assets that have reached the end of their useful life), the requirement may be waived. The waiver will not be appropriate if there is evidence of a steady and regular level of business activity, even though the output tax resulting from VAT registration may be less than £1,000. If VAT registration is waived the local authority must not charge output VAT on any taxable business supplies made. The local authority needs to understand that if it does not VAT register then it is not entitled to recover the VAT it incurs in making those business supplies. If the local authority requests a waiver of registration then it must ensure that HMRC confirms this in writing.

Please see VATGPB4930 for information on VAT group registrations.

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