VAT & Listed Buildings – better deal on listed places of worship, does nothing to address the problems private owners face in maintaining listed buildings, say Saffery Champness
The recent announcement from the Treasury that some £30 million has been set aside for listed places of worship, to off-set the removal of VAT relief on the alteration to listed buildings, is only a partial climb-down, say Saffery Champness, the leading firm of Chartered Accountants.
“While all listed places of worship are included in the 100% compensation package offered, this does nothing to assist thousands of other owners of listed buildings across the country”, says. Douglas Gordon, a partner of Saffery Champness Landed Estates & Rural Business Group and the firm’s leading VAT expert.
“The abolition of VAT relief on listed buildings has all the hallmarks of a measure that is about saving officials at HMRC time and effort in an area of the tax which is seen as costly and litigious. While it is claimed to be all about the removal of an anomaly, the “anomaly” has been around since 1984 so why the need to “correct” it now, and why the rush? It is really all about saving costs and raising revenue at HMRC.
“For building contractors and suppliers working in rural communities, which have a very significant proportion of listed buildings in the UK, not least on landed estates, this measure has come at a very bad time indeed. Landed estates, in particular, will consider cancelling projects that were only affordable on the basis that VAT at 20% would not be charged.
“The removal of the zero rate of VAT on alterations to listed buildings by October 2012 is a very short timescale and will add significantly to the existing financial burdens on private owners who look after our built heritage and will be a significant disincentive for prospective owners.” Douglas Gordon concludes.
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