Do you need a certificate from the client to zero rate or reduce rate construction VAT? Reply

Dwellings

The rules are in the VAT Notice 708 and in section 17.1 it states

There’s no requirement to hold a certificate for zero-rated or reduced-rated supplies in connection with buildings that will be used as one of the types of dwelling described at paragraphs 14.2 to 14.5.

Zero Rating – an example would be building a new house

Reduced Rating – this applies to converting a non-residential building to a dwelling or multiple dwellings

If your builder needs further details just point them at VAT Notice 708.

Don’t accept invoices which have the wrong VAT rate on them, even if you can claim the VAT back because HMRC will only accept the recovery of VAT when its charged at the correct rate

When do you need a Certificate?

You need to hold, within your business records, a valid certificate when you make any zero-rated:

  • or reduced-rated supply in connection with a building that will be used solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’ – see paragraph 14.6
  • supply in connection with a building that will be used solely for a ‘relevant charitable purpose’ – see paragraph 14.7

Possession of a valid certificate does not mean that you can automatically zero rate or reduce rate your charge. The certificate merely confirms that the building is intended to be used solely for a qualifying purpose. You must meet all of the conditions explained in the relevant sections of notice 708 to zero rate or reduce rate your supply.

The customer for the zero-rated or reduced-rated work issues the certificate. The certificates at section 18 of VAT Notice 708 can be used, or the issuer can create their own certificate provided it contains the same information and declaration.

The 2 available certificates confirm that you’re either eligible to receive:

  • zero-rated or reduced-rated building work (the certificate can be found at paragraph 18.1)
  • a zero-rated sale or long lease (the certificate can be found at paragraph 18.2)

What if you get it wrong?

If you issue an incorrect certificate, you may be liable to a penalty equivalent to the amount of VAT not charged. A penalty is not VAT and, if you’re registered for VAT, you will not be able to recover it as input tax.

A penalty will not be issued, or will be withdrawn, if you can demonstrate that there’s a reasonable excuse for issuing the incorrect certificate.

What if the use changes?

If you have obtained zero rating for the construction or acquisition of a building (or part of a building) because you certified that it would be used solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’ or a ‘relevant charitable purpose’, HMRC expect that the building will be used solely for either or both of those qualifying purposes for a period of, at least, 10 years following completion of the building.

If the building ceases to used solely for either or both of those qualifying purposes within that 10-year period, if that use decreases or if the building is disposed of, a taxable charge comes about, on which you must account for VAT.

What about Materials?

Retailers and builders merchants charge VAT at the standard rate on most items they sell.

Builders charge VAT on ‘building materials’ that they supply and incorporate in a building (or its site) at the same rate as for their work. Therefore, if their work is zero-rated or reduced-rated, then so are the ‘building materials’. But some items are not ‘building materials’ and remain standard-rated.

steve@bicknells.net

That’s Entertainment! but can I claim a tax deduction or VAT refund? Reply

What is Business Entertainment

Entertainment is defined as hospitality of any kind, the following are examples:

  • provision of food and drink
  • provision of accommodation (such as in hotels)
  • provision of theatre and concert tickets
  • entry to sporting events and facilities
  • entry to clubs and nightclubs
  • use of capital assets such as yachts and aircraft for the purpose of entertaining
  • Gifts BIM45065

Is it tax deductible?

No its not, Entertainment is not tax deductible

Hospitality by definition is giving something for free.

So if its a ‘Quid pro quo’ where you have to give something in exchange its not hospitality its a trade and would therefore be tax deductible. This also applies if you are contractually obliged to provide the entertainment for example Celtic Football Club were contractually obliged to pay the visiting opponents board and lodging under UEFA rules. Another similar case was Kilroy Television Co Ltd who provided food and train travel to participants in their programs.

Also of interest is the case of Merlin Scientific LLP v HMRC [2015] TC04441 they supplied corporate meeting facilities but the supply was considered a minimal amount of a composite supply.

What about staff entertainment?

Staff entertainment is allowable BIM45033

Staff entertaining is allowable, so long as it is wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade and is not merely incidental to entertainment which is provided for customers (see BIM45034). For more information on how to establish the purpose of expenditure, see BIM37050.

Where an employer provides a staff Christmas party, or a sporting event which is open only to employees, the expenditure is not disallowed by the legislation. However, it is still necessary to establish that the expenditure is wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business.

In practice, the definition of ‘employees’ is extended to include retired members of staff and the partners of existing and past employees. 

You might find these blogs helpful

Let’s have a Virtual Tax Free Party « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

Will the Christmas Party be tax free? « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

It’s time for a Tax and NI free Trivial Benefit « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

Will I be taxed on Christmas gifts recieved at work? « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

How to have a tax free Christmas « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

Can I have a Tax Free Lunch? « Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

What about VAT?

You cannot recover input tax incurred on the provision of business entertainment expenses. VAT Notice 700/65

2.5 Subsistence expenses for employees working away from their normal place of business

These are not covered by the business entertainment rules because they are not business entertainment.

Meetings

If normal basic food and refreshments such as sandwiches and soft drinks are provided in your office during a meeting to enable the meeting to proceed without interruption, then a private use charge will not apply.

If there is no other alternative than to hold a meeting outside the office, only similar basic provisions would be allowable. Hospitality provided following a meeting will not meet the strict business purpose test and neither will hospitality involving the provision of alcohol. Taking a customer to a restaurant is very likely to lead to a private use charge.

Corporate hospitality events

Many businesses offer their customers or potential customers general entertainment and hospitality. Examples include:

  • golf days
  • track days
  • trips to sporting events
  • evening meals
  • trips to nightclubs

Where the related expenditure is incurred for the purpose of the business, and recovered, an output tax charge will be due. This is because such events are unlikely to have a strict business purpose or are necessary for the business to make its supplies.

3. Employee entertainment

3.1 Overview of employee entertainment

Where an employer provides entertainment for the benefit of employees for example to reward them for good work or to maintain and improve staff morale, it does so wholly for business purposes.

Thus the VAT incurred on entertainment for employees for example staff parties, team building exercises, staff outings and similar events is input tax and is not blocked from recovery under the business entertainment rules.

However, there are two exceptions to the general rule. These are where:

  • entertainment is provided to directors, partners or sole proprietors of the business
  • employees act as hosts to non-employees

steve@bicknells.net