Property and construction

Property and construction

Transactions and ventures involving property and construction generally involve big numbers and can be complex.

Throw VAT into the mix and you have a real minefield. There are publications and conferences devoted solely to this subject.

Some 30 years ago a ruling by the European Court of Justice declared that the UK had too much zero-rating.

That meant massive changes to the UK’s rules and clients needed answers, which I have been providing ever since.

The changes in the late 1980s were only the beginning. The VAT rules for property and construction mean issues are being thrown up all the time, including:

  • Does exemption apply? Is there an option to tax? Should there be?
  • Dis-applying the option to tax – is it the right thing to do if you are the buyer? How should you respond if you are the seller?
  • Are you looking at a situation where the capital goods scheme is relevant?
  • If you run a charity, is zero-rating or exemption relevant?
  • If you have had the benefit of zero-rating in relation to a charitable or residential building, when might a charge arise on change of use or on a disposal?
  • Are the reliefs for disabled modifications applicable?
  • If you are sharing premises, are there better ways to do so from a VAT point of view?
  • If you are embarking on a capital project, can you recover all the VAT you will incur?


All these and more are posers that I help answer on behalf of my clients. If you would like sensible, clear and specialist advice on VAT please get in touch.

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