VAT Exemptions | When not to charge VAT

Picture of Written by: Liez Comendador
Written by: Liez Comendador
VAT Exemptions

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When most items or services are sold, VAT is added to the original deal cost, ordinarily at a pace of 20%. Be that as it may, certain items and services are exempt from VAT. Products and services that are excluded are viewed as fundamental, as you can see from the rundown beneath. If your business exchanges VAT-exempt supplies, you will not have the option to reclaim VAT on the costs your business causes. This article is an epilogue for your financial reliefs as it will help you understand what goods you aren’t chargeable to VAT and what the VAT exemptions are.

What are VAT exemptions?

An exemption happens when the yield is untaxed, yet the input charge isn’t recoverable.”

It is along these lines a deviation as far as the essential rationale of VAT. Yet, exemptions are of incredible significance, raising issues that present impressive and maybe expanding trouble for policy formulation definition. Exemptions past these center things are normal: practically all nations exempt something other than things identifying with instruction, wellbeing (health), and monetary services. While practice shifts, there are likewise a few shared traits in the scope of things exempted. Extensively, the classifications can be recognized as

  • Land
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Health and Welfare
  • Artwork
  • Physical education
  • Burial and cremation
  • Insurance
  • Postal services
  • Betting, gaming, and lotteries
  • Subscriptions to trade unions, professional and other interest bodies
  • Fund-raising events by charities and other qualifying bodies
  • Cultural services
  • Supplies of goods where input tax cannot be recovered
  • Gold investment
Exempt items are products on which no VAT is paid or charged

VAT Exemptions for Goods and Services

In the EU, the VAT Directive expresses that specific things should be exempted from any VAT charges. Along with others, European nations have the choice to pick if specific supplies have exemptions or not. The more significant part of the things that don’t have a VAT applied to them fall into a couple of certain groups.

  • Public interest goods and services
  • Fiscal and coverage services
  • Certain types of land and buildings
  • EU disseminates

We should accept medical consideration, as an illustration, to delineate how the charges are dealt with. The specialist co-op will be paying input VAT on goods and services it buys. The association pays input charges on its ambulances, regulatory supplies, and medical clinic furniture and fittings. Notwithstanding, the service provider can’t charge VAT on the final service it offers, which is medical care.

Therefore, the final price charged to the client, the patient, on this occasion, incorporates a value-added tax that isn’t represented.

Businesses offering products of substantial public interest can’t charge any value-added tax, and they additionally can’t deduct or recuperate their input charges.”

These contributions are generally VAT-exempted when offered by public institutions and just now and again when private establishments or good cause (charities) give them.

VAT Exemptions for Charities

Regardless of whether they’re not enrolled for VAT, the noble cause can request that their providers charge them the diminished rate (5%) or the zero rate (0%) of VAT on specific goods and services, rather than the full 20% that the provider would charge on these to non-noble cause clients. Charities are likewise exempted from paying VAT on qualifying products that are imported from outside the EU.

Charities pay the reduced pace of 5% VAT on qualifying fuel (‘succeeding fuel and power’ does not embrace vehicle fuel). ”

It does, though include electricity, gas, oil, and solid fuels and force given that the assets are utilized for:

  • Small-scale use: up to a limit of 1,000 kilowatt long stretches of power or conveyance of up to a limit of 2,300 liters of gas oil
  • Charitable non-business exercises, like giving free childcare
  • Providing residential accommodation, such as a care home, children’s home or hospice

In some instances, a charity may utilize similar premises for the decreased rate exercises recorded above and for different activities that would typically be charged at the standard rate. For example, if under 60% of a foundation’s fuel and force is utilized for the reduced rate exercises, the usual pace of 20% VAT will apply to the rest. Notwithstanding, if over 60% of fuel and force is being utilized for the whole stockpile can be paid at a decreased rate.

Charities can help you exempt 5% to 0% VAT charge on products.

Charities may also qualify for a large number of goods and services at zero-rate VAT, including:

  • Advertising
  • Medical provisions
  • Ambulances, Lifeboats
  • Construction
  • Scientific equipment
  • Aid and goods for disabled persons

A scope of qualifying models should be met all together for the zero rates to apply to these goods and services.

HMRC gives a total rundown of zero-evaluated labor and products for charity, alongside data on the parsing rules for each.”

In order to have the option to buy the services and products depicted above at a reduced or zero paces of VAT, good cause ought to furnish their providers with proof of their beneficent status. This can incorporate a letter of acknowledgment from HMRC or a Charity Commission enrollment number for charity in England and Wales.

What is Zero-rated VAT?

Zero-rated implies that the products are still VAT – available, yet the pace of VAT you should charge your clients is 0%. You need to record them in your VAT records and report them on your VAT Return.

Zero-rated merchandise is items that are not liable to value-added burdens for the most part because of their cultural significance or individual need.”

For VAT purposes, these merchandises are zero-rated and don’t have extra charges exacted on them. A few models incorporate food and products sold by charities.

  • Children’s clothes
  • Publications such as books, brochures, leaflets, and pamphlets
  • Prescription medicines
  • Food and drink, with some exceptions such as alcoholic drinks, and ice cream
  • Certain animals, animal feeding products, plants, and seeds
  • Donated goods sold by charity shops
Zero rated VAT exempt
Zero-rated things are the merchandise on which the government charge VAT yet the rate is as of now set to nothing. The merchandise covered by this characterization are things like kids' garments and footwear, water, fundamental food varieties, books, and papers.
Exempt items are products on which no VAT is paid or charged, yet which actually should be recorded on the VAT return. The products covered by this grouping are things like land, postal services, medical services, wagering, and gaming.

Advantages and Disadvantages of VAT Exemption

Not being charged to VAT is a good thing to hear, but it also has disadvantages which are discussed below:
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Save money on the items that you purchase for your business, assuming that your supplier is also a VAT exempt business
  • Do not need to charge your customers VAT, thus can offer lower prices
  • Do not need to keep VAT records
  • Do not need to submit VAT returns
  • No impact on cash flow
  • You can't reclaim any VAT that you paid to a VAT enrolled business for products or services except if the VAT is beneath sure cutoff points. 
  • Having a VAT enrollment number can add validity to your business. However, once you clarify that you are VAT exempted, this ought to be an unsettled issue.

What is partially exempted VAT?

For some organizations and duty counsels, the halfway or partial exemption can be an overwhelming space of the VAT enactment and one that comprehends should you be working with VAT. This article expects to update a portion of the critical standards encompassing fractional exclusion and how the actual estimations ought to be made.

A VAT enlisted business falls inside the extent of partial exemption when it has supplies of both an available and an absolved nature. ”

Output VAT can’t be charged on an exempted supply, and similarly, any input VAT caused straightforwardly in making the exempt stockpile, by and large, can’t be recuperated.

Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994 subtleties the sort of supply that falls inside the exemption and incorporates, among others, a few supplies are identifying with medical and government assistance, finance, protection, schooling, and land. Consider the impact of a partially exempt business having non-business activities. Typically, it should initially decide the extent of VAT about identifying with these exercises and dis-respect this VAT before applying the partially exempted computation. Any info VAT which is credited to non-business exercises can’t be recuperated.

The de-minimis limit

Duty and Tax De Minimis Thresholds

When the input VAT, which is ascribed (both straightforwardly and through the remaining computation) to exempt supplies is underneath the de-minimis limit, all the input VAT caused in that quarter is recoverable.

To be within the de-minimis limits, the accompanying two conditions must both be met,

  • Input VAT ascribed to exempt supplies must  not exceed £1,875 for the quarter
  • Input VAT accredited to exempt supplies must not exceed 50% of the total input VAT sustained in that quarter.

Successfully this permits up to £7,500 worth of input VAT, identifying with exempted supplies which would not in any case be recoverable, to be recuperated every year by a partially exempted business.

What are VAT reliefs?

VAT relief isn’t equivalent to VAT exemption, which is the point at which an association makes no taxable sales and thusly can’t enlist for VAT. Associations that don’t make available deals may just sell VAT-exempt products or services, or they essentially probably won’t be engaged with any business activities. This implies that both charities and revenue driven organizations can be qualified for VAT exemption. Nonetheless, while charity can meet all requirements for VAT relief whether or not they are VAT-exempted, organizations don’t fit the bill for VAT relief regardless of whether they are exempted from VAT.

On the off chance that you have an incapacity or long-haul sickness, you might have the option to get a portion of our items without paying any VAT. The public authority permits certain items to be zero-rated for VAT purposes (for example, no VAT should be charged) to lessen the expense of the practical items you may require on your disability.

VAT Exempt

You possibly have the option to have qualified merchandise VAT-free in case you’re chronically sick or debilitated, and the products are for your own or homegrown use.”

You don’t need to be registered disabled to meet all requirements for VAT-free goods. For VAT objects, you’re chronically ill or incapacitated if you have:

  • A physical or mental disability which has a long haul and considerable antagonistic impact upon your capacity to complete regular exercises
  • A condition which the clinical calling treats as a constant affliction (that is a drawn out medical issue)

For VAT purposes, the term ‘chronically sick or handicapped’ does exclude an individual who’s just briefly crippled or weakened, for instance, with a wrecked appendage or somebody who’s old however isn’t chronically ill or impaired.

Registering and Filling for VAT

You should enroll your business for VAT with HMRC if your available turnover surpasses £85,000 (2020/21) for any moving year time frame. Most businesses can register online at the UK government site and pursue a VAT online record, albeit a few organizations are needed to enlist by post. To enlist, you’ll need to give subtleties like your business movement, bank subtleties, and turnover. To proclaim how much output VAT you’ve charged and input VAT you’ve recovered, you should record a normal VAT get back to HMRC. Your VAT return shows your business’ output VAT less its input VAT – and the thing that matters is the thing that you should pay to HMRC.

Whenever you’ve registered, you’ll normally get a VAT enrollment testament within 30 working days.”

With regards to covering your business’ VAT bills, it’s ideal for building up a technique for overseeing installments. In case you’re coordinated, nothing will cause issues down the road for you. Obviously, web-based bookkeeping programming, for example, Legend Financial, will help you keep on top of your records and ensure you don’t miss any cutoff times.

Exemptions are detestable to both the rationale and the working of the VAT. Strategy toward exemptions is hence a basic part of both guidance and practice concerning the VAT. The reasoning for some standard exemptions is progressively being addressed. Exemptions can subvert a VAT. Forestalling their spread is a significant worry in numerous nations, which will probably be the situation for a long time. Legend Financial has given you a detailed assessment of VAT exemptions through this article. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.


Business Tax: Businesses And Charging VAT. (n.d.). Retrieved from

New Brexit blows for UK traders as Germany axes VAT exemption on low-value imports. (2021, February 2). Retrieved from

Revenue and Customs Brief 7 (2021): VAT liability of charging of electric vehicles. (n.d.). Retrieved from

U.K. Branches of Overseas Banks—Six Common Tax Pitfalls. (2021, June 18). Retrieved from

Value Added Tax: Claiming Back VAT. (2021, April 15). Retrieved from

VAT: Exemption and partial exemption from VAT. (2018, June 18). Retrieved from


  • Junaid Usman

    Apart from being a partner at Legend Financial, Junaid is an expert on Business Tax including business management advisory services which has proven in the growth of company. He is a promising advisor with an ideology; "Any business success depends on the level of objectivity it maintains."

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Picture of Junaid Usman
Junaid Usman
Apart from being a partner at Legend Financial, Junaid is an expert on Business Tax including business management advisory services which has proven in the growth of company. He is a promising advisor with an ideology; "Any business success depends on the level of objectivity it maintains."

4 thoughts on “VAT Exemptions | When not to charge VAT”

  1. Beenish Mahmood

    Excellent coverage of the topic with useful links. Businesses need to be very mindful especially if their transactions are a combination of Exempt, Standard, Reduced, and No VAT. In that case, they need a trustworthy accountant to have their VAT evaluation done with due diligence and care.

    1. Hey Beenish,

      Hope you enjoyed the article!

      Understanding VAT in detail could be tricky, we try to share knowledge in simple and jargon free language making easy for someone with no tax knowledge / background.

      Feel free to contact to discuss more.


  2. Just gone through the above article. Very informative and east to understand. Before that I’ve no idea about VAT Exemption, VAT Relief and specially the threshold and registration process. The advantages and disadvantages part helps me more to understand in depth the importance of VAT Exemption.
    Thanks for sharing Information!

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