VAT on repairs to unlisted churches

by
02 November 2018

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below.

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Your answers: Our historic place of worship, although unlisted, is sited in a conservation area, and currently requires extensive maintenance work to weatherproof the roof. As caretaker, I wonder whether readers have experience of VAT exemption obtained through builders engaged to undertake the necessary works? Any relevant guidance would be most appreciated, since the overall cost needs reduction to become affordable.

The answer is simply “No.” Repairs on listed buildings were exempt from VAT until 2012, when the 20-per-cent rate was imposed on all work on listed buildings. Acknowledging that this meant that one sixth of fund-raising would now go straight to the Government as VAT, the Government introduced the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS), under which claims can be made for a grant equivalent to the VAT paid, as the VAT rules do not permit any relaxation.

See, however, www.lpwscheme.org.uk for eligibility rules, which clearly state that a claim for an unlisted church would fall at the first hurdle.

The LPWGS will, I hope, continue for the foreseeable future, but there is a worry that these funds will be used to implement the Taylor review (News, 28 September); the Government has been quite coy on where that funding will come from.

Matthew Clements (ex-churchwarden and treasurer)

Bicester, Oxfordshire

Your questions:

As regards foreign nationals and C of E marriages, the yourchurchwedding.org site says: “Nationals of Switzerland and countries within the EEA, and who live in England, may be married by banns and will not usually require a licence.” So, if at Brexit the UK leaves the EEA, it seems that nationals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will lose the right to be married by banns in the C of E. Is this correct, and is it the only example of Brexit’s having presumably unintended consequences on ecclesiastical law?

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J. S.

Why is it that, when a bishop announces his or her resignation, the selection process begins immediately, whereas parishes are told that it cannot begin until the incumbent leaves, leading to lengthy vacancies?

C. M.

What was the date in 1921 that the Malines Conversations began? Is this date going to be observed in any special way for the centenary?

A young Anglican Catholic is going to live and work in China for a few years. Can he find sacramental assurance, i.e. the eucharist consecrated by a priest ordained by a bishop in the apostolic succession, in the forcibly united so-called “Protestant” Church, or should he worship with the Roman Catholics?

G. S.

In Dr Henry Hammond’s Paraphrase and Annotations Upon All the Books of the New Testament, his annotation on 1 Corinthians 7.18 (1845, volume 4, page 118), he refers to the claims of the famous physician Celsus and Talmudists that in times of persecution, to mask their Jewish identity, Jews could obtain a new foreskin to reverse circumcision. Is this a fable or the earliest example of plastic surgery?

A. B.

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