Owners of Listed Buildings miss £250 million of VAT relief
Owners of the 450,000 listed buildings throughout the UK are unaware that much of the building work undertaken on their homes should not attract VAT. The Listed Property Owners Club estimate that as much as £250 million of tax is being paid unnecessarily.
Provided the local planning authority has given an owner permission to undertake work on their homes tasks such as changing the internal wall configuration, installing central heating for the first time, building an extension or adding a conservatory should all be charged as a zero rated service. Even underpinning should be classified as an extension (downwards !!) and is therefore zero-rated.
Whilst tax is payable on repair and maintenance, many approved alterations should not be taxed. Even the supply and installation of an Aga is free of tax provided it is part of an approved alteration to form a kitchen where one did not exist before. By good forward planning substantial savings can be made.
These alterations must be to the "fabric" of the building, which historically has been accepted as including the buildings basic structure, walls, ceilings, floors etc. Recently Customs and Excise accepted that this should also include the mains electrical and lighting systems. Unfortunately electrical appliances that are attached to and services by the mains supply are not considered part of the mains wiring system.
The onus of deciding whether to charge VAT or not rests entirely with the contractor. He has to decide at the outset whether tax is payable or not. Unfortunately it is very much to his advantage to charge the tax. If he gets it wrong the taxman will want the tax even if he hasn’t charged for it, and this may not come to light for some years after which time it would be almost impossible for the contractor to recover the sum from the owner. It is therefore, understandable when he charges tax " "just to be on the safe side".
To help owners understand their rights the Listed Property Owners Club has produced a detailed information sheet which explains these in precise details.
Membership to the club costs a modest £48 per year by Direct Debit for which the owner receives a personalised logbook containing a full series of information sheets covering everything from window replacement to leadwork, hiring an architect to exterminating woodworm and features the above VAT information. It also contains our background notes on historical housing and answers the most frequently asked questions about listed property ownership. There’s space for owners to build a record of their homes unique history and character starting with the official "Greenback" listing entry. Additionally members receive a bi-monthly magazine, a register of companies able to help them maintain their homes and access to a helpline.
The club has also created a specialist insurance policy.
Full details of the club are available from;
Kellymarie Smith Listed Property Owners Club Lower Dane Hartlip Kent ME9 7TE Web: www.lpoc.co.uk Telephone 01795 844939 Fax 01795 844862