A PETITION calling on the Government to remove the VAT that churches have to pay for building works has been launched by a Methodist church in Manchester.
At present, churches, like other organisations, are liable to pay VAT at 20 per cent on extensions and refurbishments, despite their charitable status.
The petition has been created by David Mason, of Denton Methodist Church, Manchester, because his church is currently considering a £1-million extension, the sole purpose of which is to benefit the community. The extension would incur a further £200,000 in VAT.
The petition has to be signed by 100,000 people, by 23 January 2019, to trigger a debate in Parliament.
Mr Mason said: “We realise that discussing it and actioning it may be two different things, but, unless we try, we will get nowhere. . . Next week, or next year, it could be your church that wants to spend money on an extension, or even just on roof repairs, and you will be paying out 20 per cent in tax.”
Periodic discussions have taken place between Church House and the Government over VAT arrangements for churches. Further negotiations are expected in the near future.
Earlier this year, a £1.8-million pilot of a scheme to create a “sustainable future” for places of worship was announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (News, 6 April).
It is being piloted in Manchester and Suffolk, and will run for two years. It includes £500,000 for a “minor repairs fund” for eligible places of worship.