The majority of input tax incurred by most VAT registered businesses may be recovered. However, there is some input tax that may not be. I thought it would be helpful if I pulled together all of these categories in one place:
Blocked VAT Claims
A brief overview
In most cases this evidence will be an invoice (or as the rules state “a proper tax invoice)” although it may be import, self-billing or other documentation in specific circumstances. A claim is invalid without the correct paperwork. HMRC may accept alternative evidence, however, they are not duty bound to do so (and rarely do). So ensure that you always obtain and retain the correct documentation.
- Incorrect supporting evidence
Usually this is an invalid invoice, or using a delivery note/statement/pro forma in place of a proper tax invoice. To support a claim an invoice must show all the information set out in the legislation. HMRC are within their rights to disallow a claim if any of the details are missing. A full guide is here: http://www.marcusward.co/vat-invoices-a-full-guide/
- Input tax relating to exempt supplies
Broadly speaking, if a business incurs VAT in respect of exempt supplies it cannot recover it. If a business makes only exempt supplies it cannot even register for VAT. There is a certain easement called de minimis which provide for recovery if the input tax is below certain prescribed limits. Input tax which relates to both exempt and taxable activities must be apportioned. More details of partial exemption may be found here: http://www.marcusward.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Partial-Exemption-Guide.pdf
- Input tax relating to non-business activities
If a charity or NFP entity incurs input tax in connection with non-business activities this cannot be recovered and there is no de minimis relief. Input tax which relates to both business and non-business activities must be apportioned. Business versus non-business apportionment must be carried out first and then any partial exemption calculation for the business element if appropriate. More details here: http://www.marcusward.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Charities-and-Not-For-Profit-Entities-A-Brief-VAT-Guide.pdf
If input tax is not reclaimed within four years of it being incurred, the capping provisions apply and any claim will be rejected by HMRC.
- VAT incurred on business entertainment
This is always irrecoverable unless the client or customer being entertained belongs overseas. The input tax incurred on staff entertainment costs is however recoverable.
In most cases the VAT incurred on the purchase of a car is blocked. The only exceptions are for when the car; is part of the stock in trade of a motor manufacturer or dealer, or is used primarily for the purposes of taxi hire; self-drive hire or driving instruction; or is used exclusively for a business purpose and is not made available for private use. This last category is notoriously difficult to prove to HMRC and the evidence to support this must be very good.
If a business leases a car for business purposes it will normally be unable to recover 50% of the VAT charged. The 50% block is to cover the private use of the car.
- A business using certain schemes
For instance, a business using the Flat rate Scheme cannot recover input tax except for certain large capital purchases, also there are certain blocks for recovery on TOMS users
Even if you obtain an invoice purporting to show a VAT amount, this cannot be recovered if the VAT was charged in error; either completely inappropriately or at the wrong rate. A business’ recourse is with the supplier and not HMRC.
- Goods and services not used for your business
Even if a business has an invoice addressed to it and the services or goods are paid for by the business, the input tax on the purchase is blocked if the supply is not for business use. This may be because the purchase is for personal use, or by anther business or for purposes not related to the business.
- VAT paid on goods and services obtained before VAT registration
This is not input tax and therefore is not claimable. However, there are exceptions for goods on hand at registration and services received within six months of registration if certain conditions are met.
- VAT incurred by property developers
Input tax incurred on certain articles that are installed in buildings which are sold or leased at the zero rate is blocked.
Goods sold to you under one of the VAT second-hand schemes will not show a separate VAT charge and no input tax is recoverable on these goods.
- Transfer of a going concern (TOGC)
Assets of a business transferred to you as a going concern are not deemed to be a supply for VAT purposes and consequently, there is no VAT chargeable and therefore no input tax to recover.
A business cannot reclaim VAT when it pays for goods or services to be supplied directly to its client. However, in this situation the VAT may be claimable by the client if they are VAT registered. For more on disbursements see here: http://www.marcusward.co/disbursements-vat/
A business cannot reclaim VAT charged on goods or services that it has bought from suppliers in other EC States. Only UK VAT may be claimed on a UK VAT return. There is however, a mechanism available to claim this VAT back from the relevant VAT body in those States. However, in most cases, supplies received from overseas suppliers are VAT free, so it is usually worth checking whether any VAT has been charged correctly.
© Marcus Ward Consultancy Ltd