December 2023 VATWatch

Bevan VAT Newsletter

Welcome to my December newsletter, we’ve just had our first sprinkle of snow in the North East! 

Staying with the winter theme, please note that the office will be closed for the Christmas Break from 5pm on Thursday 21st December, reopening on Tuesday 2nd January.

Update on VAT and the DIY Housebuilders Scheme

The DIY Housebuilders Scheme covers any person who is building their own home, or converting a non-residential building to their own home, and who wishes to reclaim the VAT incurred.

Introduced in 1977, the scheme is finally being digitised. The time limit for claiming back VAT incurred is also being extended from 3 months to 6 months.

The new system comes in to effect on the 5th December this year.

Find full details from HMRC here.

Dramatic challenge for HMRC in live theatre VAT case

I’ve enjoyed writing about an interesting case for AccountingWeb this month; a Derby arts venue challenged HMRC, claiming that live theatre performances screened in its cinema should be VAT exempt.


VATA1994, Schedule 9, Group 13, Item 2(a) exempts “the supply by an eligible body of a right of admission to a theatrical, musical or choreographic performance of a cultural nature” from VAT. This includes concerts, plays, musicals and similar shows.

Venue Derby Quad asserted that theatre performances screened live for a cinema audience should be covered by the exemption.

HMRC disagreed, arguing that such screenings do not fall under the cultural exemption.

To find out the First Tier Tribunal’s findings, and how they reached their decision, please head to AccountingWeb .

Read more here 

Autumn Statement 2023

It’s no surprise that there will be some VAT reviews and updates following the government’s Autumn Statement. Here is a summary for you. This information is taken directly from the documents published on the day of the statement. No doubt more information will be released over the coming days and weeks.

“5.81 VAT Treatment of Private Hire Vehicles – The government will consult in early 2024 on the impacts of the July 2023 High Court ruling in Uber Britannia Ltd v Sefton MBC.”


“5.82 Women’s Sanitary Products – The government will extend the scope of the current VAT zero rate relief on women’s sanitary products to include reusable period underwear from 1 January 2024.”


“5.87 VAT Retail Export Scheme – The government is grateful for industry submissions on the VAT Retail Export Scheme and the associated airside scheme (tax-free shopping). The government will continue to accept representations and consider this new information carefully, alongside broader data.”


“5.152 Reforms to Energy-Saving Materials VAT Relief – Following a call for evidence, the government will expand the VAT relief available on the installation of energy-saving materials by extending the relief to additional technologies – such as water-source heat pumps – and bringing buildings used solely for a relevant charitable purpose within scope. Thanks to the Windsor Framework, these reforms will be implemented UK-wide in February 2024. Full details on these reforms will be published shortly.”

One to Many Campaign – VAT Missing Returns

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has published a briefing stating that HMRC have confirmed that they will be shortly commencing with a postal campaign to alert businesses that they appear to have missing VAT returns.

Find copies of the letters and the full briefing here

Thank you for taking the time to read this VATwatch round-up.


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