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Alison Snelling


Managing Partner

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VAT Conundrum!


 Hi everyone, I wonder if any of you can enlighten me to VAT regulations and the provision of training.  

As a VAT registered training provider we always charge VAT to client companies unless providing a service outside of the UK. We rarely provide courses directly to individuals. I have been on two courses with other providers recently and had two different experiences. Both were booked on line. With one it clearly stated VAT was additional to the basic price and the invoice clearly showed this.

With the other it said on the website 'including VAT' and I requested a VAT invoice to be able to offset the VAT element. They now tell me there was a mistake and the course is non-vatable. Now their website has been changed to reflect this fact.  However it means we purchased something that in our minds was costing 20% less (without VAT)

If anyone can shed a light on this or point me in the direction of a website specifying the exact rules that would be great!


3 Responses

  1. VAT

    Hi Alison

    Having investigated this recently for my husbands company it is a nightmare.  Baisally if the company turnover is over the VAT threshold within the period, unless they are not for profit, a charity, or under  TOMS scheme (This could apply if travel, accomodation etc booked by the provider but only on those elements) then they should be paying VAT.  Under some circumstances an LLP can be exempt if all employees are partners – I am not sure of the other criteria, we did not investigate this further as this was not feasiible for our company structure.

     However the bottom line is that if they are advertising prices inclusive of VAT they are obliged to provide you with a VAT invoice.  The government web sites are a useful starting point for further information.

    Hope this helps



  2. vat rulz…

     Hi, to the best of my knowledge if the "training is a qualification (vq based), then it can be vat free (except any publication/ handout costs) or if the training is for public sector staff.

    the best thing to do is call the HMRC and get an answer that is attached to your vat reference to avoid a come-back at a later date.

    I agree with the prev poster – if the site said "vat inc" then they need to give you a breakdown, although most accounts will accept the invoive without the breakdown, providing on the reciept it says vat inc & their vat no is on the invoice.



  3. Thanks

     Thanks to both of you for the response – seems like a VAT minefield out there!

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Alison Snelling

Managing Partner

Read more from Alison Snelling

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