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Self-build VAT – are you missing out?

Self-build VAT – are you missing out?
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

As reported in Which? magazine, a quarter of people are missing out on the chance to reclaim VAT on their building materials when they construct their own home. According to HMRC, the average self-build VAT claim is £30,000 so this is something worth knowing about.


Research suggests that the average amount spent on a self-build home is £305,953, benefitting HMRC every year by £109m.


So, what is self-build VAT and what are you entitled to?


Self-build VAT – the rules


You can apply for a VAT refund on building materials if you’re building a new home or converting a property that has not been lived in for the last 10 years. The house must be separate and self-contained and be for you or your family to live or holiday in. You can use a room in your self-build home to work from but you can’t run a business from it or let it out.


You can claim on labouring costs but not for “professional or supervisory” fees like architects or surveyors.


Panthera note – builders working on new residential buildings should not charge you VAT anyway. This is covered by VAT Notice 708 – click here to read it.


Finally, you can only claim on items that are permanently attached to the house.


What can’t you claim self-build VAT back on?


• machinery and equipment hire

• buildings that are tied to another building through a planning permission condition

• fixtures or materials that are not permanently attached to or part of the building itself.


Self-build VAT – what about flat VAT schemes?


You’ll be paid back your VAT within 30 days of sending your claim.


There are two claim forms – the 431NB for new builds and the 431C for conversions.


On the 431NB for new builds form, you’ll need to fill in the following information to get your refund:


• personal details

• NI number

• certified date of completion for the building

• date you occupied the building

• the VAT registration numbers of anyone with an interest or association with the project

• evidence of and terms contained in your planning permission

• a Building Regulation Completion Certificate or equivalent

• why you built the property if you don’t intend to live there

• any other buildings you’re claiming VAT back for as part of the project

• type of building, status (detached, semi-detached, etc), number of storeys, number of reception rooms, number of bedrooms, number of (ensuite) bathrooms, number of utility rooms, number of kitchens, any other rooms

• number of integral or detached garages

• what you’ll be doing with the garages

• details of the goods supplied that you’ll be claiming VAT back on where VAT amounts are shown separately on the invoice

• details of the goods supplied that you’ll be claiming VAT back on where VAT amounts are not shown separately on the invoice

• the amount you’re claiming

• the bank account details into which you want to be paid


The form to claim back VAT on conversions, Form 431C, is virtually identical except for questions where it asks you to qualify the type of building it was prior to conversion and that it has been unoccupied for 10 years or more.


Self-build VAT – what else do I need to know?


The process for claiming is relatively straight-forward and simple. The good news is that HMRC doesn’t keep you hanging around for the money – you’re normally paid within 30 days.


All you have to do is:


• make sure you claim within 3 months of the building work being completely.

• send all documents and invoices

• if an invoice is in your company’s name, proof that you’ve refunded your personal account (a personal bank statement will do for this),

• that your VAT invoices are actually VAT invoices, and

• for any invoices not in sterling, convert the amount to currency and use the sterling figure to derive the amount of VAT you’re refunding.


Self-build VAT – make sure you claim


Whereas you’ve got to keep all your records for six years for tax investigations, HMRC only give you three months to make a claim. Given the size of the average loss to self-builders by not claiming, please do make sure this is a priority for you.


For help with self-build VAT, please get in touch with the team on 01235 768 561 or email

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