Solicitors ― VAT treatment of services

Produced by Tolley

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

  • Solicitors ― VAT treatment of services
  • Types of services
  • Place of supply of services
  • Supplies of litigation, advisory and other general legal / tax services
  • Services directly related to land
  • Commission
  • Disbursements
  • Property search fees
  • Oath Fees
  • Other activities
  • More...

Solicitors ― VAT treatment of services

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.

Types of services

Solicitors can deal with many types of legal matters including:

  1. litigation

  2. conveyancing

  3. trusts and other execution services

  4. 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:

  1. does the recipient belong outside the UK?

  2. 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 services supplied is very important, if the services are supplied to clients located outside the UK, or if the services relate to land. The following section provides an overview of the VAT treatment of cross border supplies of legal services. For detailed information, please see the International services ― overview guidance note.

Supplies of litigation, advisory and other general legal / tax services

Please note that legal services related to land and property transactions do not fall within this category and details of the VAT treatment of transactions relating to land can be found below. From January 2021, the following UK VAT treatment will apply to supplies of litigation, advisory and general legal / tax services provided by a

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