One of the best things about Selfbuilding is that you can
reclaim the VAT on most materials purchased for the Housebuild. This VAT
reclaim is made when the house has been finished and it is a very good time
to receive some cash, this money could be used for the finishing touches,
gardens etc or even furniture and fittings.
The excert below is taken from the Customs and Excise web
If you find the thoughts of dealing with the VAT claim
problematic contact me at Glenn@uktradesmen.com
for help and advice. I will even offer a service of completing the VAT
reclaim for you.
Building your home?
Details of how to reclaim the VAT incurred in building your own home are
available in Public Notice 719 Do-it-Yourself
Housebuilders and Converters. Extensions and renovations are not
If you require advice on the VAT aspects of building or converting your own
home within the following areas - Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire, North Devon,
Hereford, Gloucester and Avon - please contact the D-I-Y Advice Centre based at
Chester VAT Office:
Tel: 01244 684200
Fax: 01244 684299
For a pack containing claim forms and information leaflets please ring: 01244
For advice ring: 01244 68 - 4212 / 4213 / 4214 / 4235 or 4227
If you live outside the areas quoted above please contact your local VAT
Business Advice Office ( see local telephone directory)
VAT refunds for
‘do-it-yourself’ builders and converters
Back to Customs and Excise List of
This notice replaces the January
1993 edition of Notice 719. The notice has been generally revised and updated.
- Date version agreed: 13
- Available from: January
- Effective date: January
1.1 About this notice
1.3 Further help and advice
2. Who can claim?
2.1 Am I eligible to claim?
2.2 Who cannot claim?
3. What buildings are covered?
3.1 New buildings
3.3 What do we mean by "dwelling"?
3.4 What is not considered to be a conversion?
3.5 Must I construct or convert the building myself?
3.6 What about charitable and residential buildings?
3.7 Other works
3.8 Finishing off the construction or conversion
3.9 How will I know when my building is complete?
4. What goods and services can I
4.2 What happens if I use outside help?
4.3 Examples of goods on which you can claim back the VAT
4.4 Examples of goods on which you cannot claim back the VAT
4.5 Other goods and services on which you cannot claim back the VAT
4.6 What about VAT incurred on the building which I am converting?
4.7 VAT charged in error
5. Making your claim
5.1 How do I claim?
5.2 Proof of VAT charged
5.3 Goods bought in other European Community member states
5.4 Goods imported from other countries
5.5 Goods returned to supplier, credits and discounts
5.6 When can I claim?
5.7 When will I get my refund?
5.8 Can I complain?
5.9 Can I appeal?
A - Example VAT certificate for charitable and relevant residential buildings
B - Checklist for ensuring that your claim is complete
About this notice
This notice explains how refunds of VAT
can be obtained on many goods and services purchased for the construction or
conversion of certain buildings.
The law which governs these
arrangements is the Value Added Tax Act 1994 Section 35, and Regulations 200 and
201 to Part XXIII of The Value Added Tax Regulations 1995.
Further information on VAT and
construction is contained in Notice 708 Buildings and construction which
is primarily intended for commercial builders and developers.
Please read this notice before claiming
a refund from Customs and Excise. It tells you whether you are eligible to make
a claim, which kinds of buildings it applies to and which goods and services are
allowed in your claim. A checklist is included at the back of this notice to
help you. The basic rules are:
a) New Buildings
If you are constructing a new building,
you may be able to claim back the VAT that you pay on the purchase of building
materials but not VAT paid on any services. However, most services
performed in the construction of a new building are free of VAT.
For conversions, you can claim back the
VAT on the materials and, if you have paid for some help, on
construction services such as those of a builder, plumber, electrician etc.
You will find this explained fully at
Section 3 and Section 4 of this notice.
If you are registered for VAT and are
building or converting an eligible property for a non-business purpose,
you must use this scheme to claim back the VAT. You must not use your VAT
Further help and advice
If you need further help and advice or
you are in any doubt about the liability of your supplies please ask the VAT
Business Advice Centre for your area. They are best placed to answer your
queries because of their local knowledge. The address and the telephone number
are in the phone book under ‘Customs and Excise’.
Whilst our officers will do their best
to help you, you should remember that they will not be responsible for advice
- all the factors relating to the
query were described; and
- in the case of queries which cannot
be answered by a reference to a notice or leaflet, both your request for
advice and the reply are given in writing.
VAT Notice 700/51 VAT Enquiries
Guide gives information about making enquiries and the standard of service
you can expect from Customs and Excise.
Customs and Excise would welcome any
comments you have on this publication. Do you find it generally helpful? Are
there any parts of it you do not understand? Can you suggest ways in which it
can be improved?
Please send your comments to:
HM Customs and Excise
4th Floor West
New King’s Beam House
22 Upper Ground
LONDON SE1 9PJ
Who can claim?
Am I eligible to claim?
You can claim if-
a) you have constructed a
new dwelling or relevant residential or charity building; or
b) you have converted a
non-residential building to form a new dwelling or other residential
c) your new building was not
constructed or converted in the course or furtherance of any business.
Who cannot claim?
a) Private owner occupiers - you
cannot use this scheme if you are constructing or converting the building with
the intention to sell or let or for some other business reason. However, this
does not affect the right of private owner-occupiers to make a claim even though
they may run a business from home, or if they decide to sell at a later date.
If you are building for business
reasons, you should find out whether you can recover the VAT by being registered
for VAT. If you are not already registered, you can ask your nearest VAT
enquiries office for Notice 700/1 Should I be registered for VAT?
b) Sports clubs and other clubs and
associations - if you charge subscriptions for membership, or charge fees to
non-members, you are regarded for tax purposes as being in business and cannot
use this refund scheme for that reason.
c) Charities - cannot claim for
non-business conversions unless the conversion creates non-business residential
d) Housing Associations and their
members - cannot use the scheme. These Associations are regarded as being in
the business of building houses for sale or letting.
What buildings are covered?
Claims can be made for completely new
buildings designed as, or intended for use for the following purposes:
- dwellings (for private residential
- communal residential buildings (but
not those which will be run as a business)
- charity-run buildings, strictly for
- charitably-run village halls or
other buildings to be used similarly in providing social or recreational
facilities for a local community. (This includes church halls which will be
available for hire).
For conversions completed since 21 July
1994, do-it-yourself builders have been allowed to claim VAT refunds in
respect of buildings which they have converted into a dwelling or communal
The previous use of the building must
have been non-residential, although you can claim for a building which may have
been a dwelling or a residential establishment before 1st April 1973 but which
has not been used as one since. Therefore you may be able to claim for
converting derelict buildings, or an old dwelling which has had a different use
Common examples of conversions are:
- agricultural barns and oast houses
into single dwellings;
- office and commercial buildings into
Unusual conversions can also qualify
- water tower and lighthouse
- disused railway stations,
provided that in the above examples you
are not converting existing living accommodation, or, if you are, that you are
creating an additional self-contained dwelling which could be disposed of
separately without planning constraints.
What do we mean by "dwelling"?
A claim for a dwelling can be allowed
only if all of the following conditions are met:
- it consists of self-contained
- there is no direct internal access
to any other dwelling or part of a dwelling;
- the separate use or disposal of the
dwelling is not prohibited by the term of any covenant, statutory planning
consent or similar provision; and
- the construction or conversion has
been carried out in accordance with statutory planning consent.
What is not considered to be a conversion?
Extensions and enlargements are not
covered by the scheme unless you are building onto an existing building to
create your eligible building, such as a new semi-detached house without
internal access to the existing building. An existing building is one which has
not been demolished to ground level or which does not have just a single
facade (or a double facade on a comer site) retained as a condition of planning
consent or similar permission for the new building. Alteration of an existing
building which does not create an additional self-contained dwelling must be
excluded from your claim.
Must I construct or convert the building myself?
No. You can employ any specialist help
you need. You do not have to do any of the work yourself, except as the
organiser of the construction or conversion of a building. The key condition is
that you must not be doing this for a business reason.
What about charitable and residential buildings?
Non-residential buildings intended for
use by a charity must be new (not conversions) and must not be used for a
business purpose. Charities can make a claim, or an individual or a group of
volunteers can make a claim if they have built and given a building to a
charity. Relevant residential buildings must not be used for a business purpose.
For new buildings- other than
dwellings, you must issue to each contractor you employ a special VAT
certificate about the intended use of the building, so that you are not charged
VAT. An example of the certificate you can use is at Annex A of this Notice. The
VAT office which issued your claim form can explain more about the use of the
If the following are built at the same
time, and are covered in the necessary planning permission, you can also claim
for the construction of
- a domestic garage
- a conservatory attached to the
- a driveway and main paths on the
site, but not ornamental garden features, landscaping and planting
- boundary and retaining walls, and
Buildings such as greenhouses, garden
sheds and other outbuildings are not included.
Finishing off the construction or conversion
You can claim VAT on goods or certain
services you buy to complete the construction or conversion of a building which
your contractor has not finished, for example:
- a half-completed project which
another DIY builder has had to give up
- a project abandoned by a commercial
developer who went out of business
- a building which has been sold as a
You cannot claim for extra work
you do on a completed building bought from a builder or developer, or for
improving a building which has already been converted.
Adding features to an already completed
building, such as a conservatory, a patio, double-glazed windows, central
heating, fully-tiled walls, or a garage are not eligible for a VAT refund.
It is best to explain your intentions
to the VAT office where your claim will be processed so that you get the right
advice to begin with.
How will I know when my building is complete?
Normally this is when it has been
finished according to the original plans or in accordance with the Building
Regulations. In cases of doubt, a building can be regarded as still under
construction up until the date when a certificate of completion is issued by the
local planning authority and all Building Regulations are complied with.
What goods and services can I claim for?
The VAT you pay on all ordinarily
incorporated building materials used in your construction or conversion can be
refunded to you by Customs and Excise. You must not claim for
consumables, tools and equipment.
What happens if I use outside help?
VAT charged by any VAT registered
specialists, contractors or general labourers you employ ill e treated in the
a) For new buildings, these
services are zero-rated and so you should not be charged any VAT.
b) For conversions, you will
be charged VAT which you can include in your claim, provided it is not one of
the services which is specifically excluded.
Examples of goods on which you can claim back the VAT:
- air-conditioning, ducted wan-n-air
systems, extractors and filters (including cooker hoods) and any
dust-extracting systems (including built in vacuum cleaners)
- all ordinary building materials and
joinery including all kinds of windows
- builders’ hardware for fixing in
or on the building
- burglar alarms and fire alarms,
- decorating materials
- fitted kitchen cupboards and
worktops, including fitted kitchen furniture in a utility room
- fixed flooring material
- kitchen stoves, but not gas and
electric cookers unless they are plumbed-in to provide hot water
- permanent boundary fencing
- plumbing and electrical
installations including central heating and other fixed heaters, fires and
fireplaces; bathrooms and showers
- saunas and pools (only if they are
inside your building)
- turf laid adjacent to your building
Examples of goods on which you cannot claim back the VAT
- aerials and satellite dishes for
- carpets, underlay and carpet tiles
- cookers, hobs or stoves
- curtains and blinds
- electric and gas appliances, for
example, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and freezers, waste
disposal units, door- bells, and electrically-operated doors (or door locks)
- garden ornaments, trees, shrubs and
- loose or fitted furniture, such as
wardrobes, whether bought ready to fit, or in kit form, or the basic
materials if you buy them yourself
Other goods and services on which you cannot claim back the VAT
The following are examples of goods and
services on which you cannot reclaim the VAT, regardless of whether you
are building or converting:
- professional and supervisory
services, including the fees of architects and surveyors, and any other fees
for management, consultancy, design and planning
- the purchase or hire of tools and
- consumables which are not actually
incorporated in the building (e.g. cleaning materials)
- transport and haulage charges
including the purchase of fuel for these
- temporary fencing
- skip hire.
What about VAT incurred on the building which I am converting?
Land and buildings which are definitely
intended for non-business use as dwellings are exempt from VAT, when you declare
this intention to the vendor. Therefore, when you buy a building for conversion,
and there are no other restrictions which prevent the lawful conversion into a
dwelling or other qualifying residential building taking place, you should not
have to pay VAT to the vendor. If you do pay VAT, you as a do-it-yourself
builder cannot claim it back from Customs and Excise.
If the vendor does not know that you
intend to use the building as a non-business dwelling or qualifying residential
building, you may be charged VAT on the sale price. The vendor may have to do
this or may have elected to do so for their own business purposes. Do-it-yourself
builders who have paid VAT to a vendor who was entitled to charge it, cannot
obtain a refund either from the vendor or Customs and Excise.
VAT charged in error
VAT which has been charged in error
cannot be claimed from Customs and Excise. When an error occurs, for example,
VAT is charged on work which should have been zero-rated, it must be corrected
by your supplier.
Making your claim
How do I claim?
Suitable forms are issued by Customs
and Excise specifically for your claim. They are contained in the Claim Pack
(VAT431) which gives full details on how to complete the forms.
To help the VAT office check your claim
you must send with it:
- the Planning Permission and the
plans of the building; and
- all your invoices or bills (please
don’t forget credit notes for returned goods, shortages, discounts etc. -
you must reduce your claim by credits received); and
- proof that you have completed the
construction or conversion of your building;
This evidence can be
i) a certificate or letter of
completion from the local authority, for Building Regulations purposes or
ii) a habitation certificate or
letter from the local authority (or in Scotland, a temporary certificate of
iii) a valuation rating or Council
iv) a certificate from your bank or
building society saying -
"This is to certify that
the ..... Bank*/Society* released on ..... (date) the last instalment of its
loan secured on the dwelling*/building* at .......... because it then
regarded that building as complete."
* delete as applicable
Proof of VAT charged
You must have a VAT invoice for all of
the eligible goods (and, for conversions, any services) to support your claim.
The goods or services must have been supplied to you and we may ask you to prove
that you have paid for them. The VAT invoice must show:
i) the supplier’s VAT registration
ii) the quantity and description of
the goods and/or services;
iii) your name and address if the
value is more than £100; and
iv) the price of each item.
For conversions only - if you
receive a single all inclusive invoice from a contractor, please include a
detailed estimate or specification of the work carried out. with your claim. It
is important that such arrangements are agreed with your contractor before the
work commences and that any goods and services covered in paragraphs 4.4 and 4.5
of this notice are separately identified and excluded from your claim.
Goods bought in other European Community member states
You can claim back VAT which you have
paid for eligible goods bought in any member state of the European Community.
The rate of VAT may be different from the standard-rate of the United Kingdom.
If you have an invoice in another European currency you should convert it to
sterling for your VAT claim.
Goods imported from other countries
VAT paid at importation into the
European Community of goods incorporated in your building can also be reclaimed.
You must provide evidence of the VAT paid, together with the originals of any
shipping or transit documents showing the importation of the goods from abroad.
Goods returned to supplier, credits and discounts
Any adjustments made by a supplier for
returned goods,, credits or discounts must be recorded accurately on your claim
to reflect the actual VAT paid.
When can I claim?
You can only make a single claim, when
you have completed constructing or converting your building. You cannot make
Claims must be made no more than three
months after the construction or conversion is finished. Please write and inform
the VAT office if you wish to make a claim but cannot do it within the three
months allowed by law.
When will I get my refund?
You should normally get your refund
within 30 working days of us receiving your claim, if there are no further
enquiries. An acknowledgement of the claim will be sent within 10 working days.
If we have any questions about your claim we will try to ask them within these
Can I complain?
Yes. We try hard to pay claims quickly
but we must also be careful not to pay the wrong amount. Claims have to be
checked in case someone has made a mistake. If you are unhappy with our service
you may complain in person or in writing to the VAT office. For complaints which
you wish to take further, please consult our leaflet Notice 1000 Complaints
against Customs and Excise. Copies are available from our offices.
If, after investigation, you are still
not satisfied you can ask the Adjudicator to took into it. The Adjudicator,
whose services are free, is an impartial referee whose recommendations are
independent. The address is:
The Adjudicators Office
LONDON SW1Y 4SP
Tel: 020 7930 2292
Fax: 020 7930 2298
Yes. If we refuse your claim altogether
or if you disagree with the amount paid, you can ask us to reconsider your
claim. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal to an independent VAT
You should normally appeal within 30
days of the decision with which you disagree. The tribunals do not charge any
fee for dealing with appeals. You can get more information about appealing from
the VAT Office or the VAT Tribunal Centre. Ask for booklet number Trib. 90 "Appeals
and Applications to the Tribunals".
A - (referred to in paragraph 3.6)
certificate fro charitable and relevant residential buildings
Name and address of business/charity using the building:
VAT Registration number (if applicable):
Address of qualifying premises (if different from above):
Is the building (or an identifiable part thereof as shown on the
attached plan) to be used solely:
i) for a residential purpose
ii) as a non-business charity building
iii) as a village hall or similar building
Date (or estimated date) of completion of building:
The relief claimed for the qualifying building or work is:
zero rated services in the course of construction ..................
I certify that the information given above is correct and complete. I am
aware of the law as contained in Group 5 or Group 6 of Schedule 8 to the
VAT Act 1994 and claim relief accordingly. I also certify that this
organisation (in conjunction with any other organisation mentioned
overleaf) is to use this building or identifiable parts of this building
solely for a qualifying purpose. I understand that if the building or
zero rated part of it is disposed of, let or otherwise used for a
non-qualifying purpose within the period of ten years from the date of
its completion, a taxable supply will have been made, and this
organisation (and any other organisations mentioned overleaf) will
account for tax at the standard rate.
Name (print)................................................... Position
Name, address and VAT registration number
of developer or building contractor:
Date certificate received:
|9. Warnings -
1. An incorrect certificate may adversely affect both the issuer and the
receiver of such a certificate. There are penalties for the issue of a
2. A certificate cannot zero rate supplies where relief is otherwise
denied by the notes to Group 5 and 6.
Is my claim complete?
Use this checklist to make sure your
claim is correct. Keep it handy before and during the making of the claim. All
invoices and plans submitted with your claim will be returned to you.
fully completed, including your full name and address for
correspondence, and the address of the building you are claiming for
Permission and a copy of your plans
relevant invoices enclosed which must be originals
relevant credit notes enclosed which must be originals
and credit notes are listed on the claim forms
items not claimed, e.g. tools and plant purchased or hired;
delivery charges; fitted bedroom wardrobes; kitchen appliances
amounts entered and totalled on the claim forms
Authority’s Certificate of Completion (or similar reliable evidence)