Caring & conserving

The works carried out at Shobdon Church in Herefordshire show why the repayment of VAT is so important.


John Sell By John Sell Published 14 December, 2012

John Sell is the Chairman of the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies.

Building and construction works

There are no reduced or zero rates of VAT for work to listed buildings or scheduled ancient monuments. The only exception to this when a freehold, or a lease of at least 7 years, is granted for the first time after such a building has been substantially reconstructed from a shell.

Grants are available towards the VAT incurred in making repairs and carrying out necessary alterations to listed buildings mainly used for public worship.

There are a number of cases where reduced or zero rates apply to existing buildings whether or not they are listed or scheduled. The rules are complex but in essence lower rates apply to:

• Converting a non-residential building into a dwelling or dwellings
• Certain alterations and types of equipment which increase the usability of buildings by  people with disabilities
• The provision of certain types of energy saving materials and equipment in dwellings and some buildings owned by charities

In general lower rates do not apply to professional services.

Detailed advice on the HMRC website should be treated with some caution until it is amended following recent budget changes.

Where to find out more

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)