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Corporate Financial Services - VAT Advice

The Corporate Financial Services Section of the Finance Division provides advice on VAT liability issues that affect the University. It also submits various statistical returns to HM Revenue and Customs and prepares the University's quarterly VAT Return.

The main VAT responsibilities of the Section include:-

  • the provision of advice to University Departments on VAT liability issues
  • studying new VAT legislation and analysing its effect on the University
  • setting up appropriate procedures to ensure the University complies with the VAT regulations
  • completion of the University's quarterly VAT returns and payment of monies due to HM Revenue and Customs
  • submission of EC Sales Lists to HM Revenue and Customs calendar quarterly
  • submission of monthly Supplementary Declarations (SD's) for EC acquisitions (INTRASTAT)
  • acts as a contact point for University Departments, HM Revenue and Customs and other external bodies when VAT queries arise

VAT Liability

The University is a complex organisation for VAT liability purposes; it also has a broad range of diverse activities and the application of VAT legislation to specific situations as they arise at the University can be difficult. Both the passing of new legislation and Customs re-interpretation of current legislation can result in the liability of a particular supply changing over time. Also, new activities which initially appear to be similar to ones previously undertaken, may on further investigation differ in some aspect which then results in their having quite different VAT liabilities. When determining the correct VAT liability of a supply, the particular circumstances in which that activity takes place must always be examined. For example, what is the exact nature of the supply and who is it being supplied to, is it a single supply or part of a mixed supply and where and when is it being supplied? Some transactions do not, of course, constitute payment for any supply and are 'outside the scope' of VAT. 'Outside the scope' transactions include the receipt of freely given, no-strings attached donations and the award of many research and other grants.

Schools and Directorates are responsible for correctly accounting for VAT whenever charges are made for the goods or services they provide. VAT guidance notes are issued periodically by the Finance Directorate and these should be retained for reference purposes. However, should you have any doubt about the VAT liability of a supply or wish to discuss the liability of your purchases or indeed have any other query concerning VAT, please do not hesitate to contact Finance.

For further assistance, please see VAT Guidance and FAQ's pages.

For information on making purchases from other EU countries, please see EU Purchases .

VAT QUERIES should be addressed in the first instance to