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Disabled parking and VAT

18 July 2014

I am writing about the VAT zero-rating for disabled facilities. Our church is planning to create a small car park for seven cars beside the church, which will include one disabled bay. The congregation has a number of disabled elderly people, and the planned car park will enable them to be dropped off right outside the door rather than, as at present, out in the busy road. I expect I will have to check this on the HMRC website, but what do you think?

FACILITIES providing access for people who are disabled are zero-rated for VAT. But the devil is always in the detail.

To get information on how zero-rating will apply to elements of your project, start by asking your design-team professionals, the architect and the quantity surveyor. Either or both will know the detail of how much of your overall project can be included - the cost of the one disabled bay, one-seventh of the drive-in, or even one seventh of the other costs such as archaeology, engineering, and so on.

Expect your design team to explain to you any specific requirements for making the parking bay accessible for the disabled: width, the non-slip surface, lower kerb, and so on. It will require more than just "Disabled Only" painted in one bay.

Check the HM Revenue and Customs website, as it may help to get the general picture, or even some comment on the greater detail of your specific project. Because you probably want some specific details resolved to set your budget, however, go back to your quantity surveyor. Of course, with fund-raising, there may be local donors who would like to help.

This will give you an estimate to help your fund-raising, but there is further work when you start the works and the builder is on site. Zero-rated VAT must not be charged by the builder on the invoices. It cannot be reclaimed later; so the paperwork is prepared by the client with the help of the architect, to assure the builder that they are right to not charge you VAT on this element of the work.

This will require signed confirmation from you, in a specific form that the architect can give you. This protects the builder from problems when the VAT man visits to check the books.

Send issues and questions to maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

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