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VAT On Education: A Guide On How VAT Works In The Education Industry

The education VAT

Depending on the industry and regulations surrounding VAT, VAT can get complicated and must be handled differently. As a result of this guide, we will answer all the questions you might have regarding VAT in the education sector. Is tax exemption available for educational institutions, for example? How can I find out if training is VAT-exempt? Are there any differences in VAT treatment between the education sector in the UK and other sectors?

The education industry and VAT

In what ways does VAT apply to education?

  • Conferences, seminars, and symposiums in the field of education
  • Delivered as lectures
  • Courses related to sports and recreation
  • The use of distance education and related materials

For the above, registration fees may also be included.

A single supply, or multiple supplies, must be determined to determine if VAT on education applies. If a variety of elements are being supplied, then multiple supplies apply.

What is the difference between a single supply and multiple supplies?

In a single supply: Each part of the supply is subject to the VAT rate of the predominant part of the supply.

In the case of multiple supplies: VAT will be calculated after assessing each part of the supply.

The determination of VAT is based on whether the activity is business or non-business.

Businesses are very broadly defined for VAT purposes

  • Educating supplies are usually created for the purpose of supplying them to other individuals for their consideration.
  • In cases where consideration is charged for educational services, it is most likely that it is business income.
  • It is also possible to consider a business as a loss-making activity when calculating VAT.
  • Depending on whether the supplies are for UK business, they may fall under zero-rating, reduced-rating, or exempt supply categories.
  • It is possible for the place of supply to fall outside the scope of VAT for purposes of UK VAT if it is outside the UK.
  • If the business supplies do not fall into any of the above categories, they will be considered standard-rated education supplies.

In general, non-business income includes income or funding obtained through government grants, voluntary donations, and activities performed without compensation.

The supplies that are associated with free educational provision can be considered non-business if they are provided at or below cost.

In order to identify business and non-business income in your education business, you should speak to a competitive VAT Accountant or find a competitive Accountant in London if you don’t already have one.

An education business may be subject to different types of rates

0 percent-rated

  • Zero-rated books include school workbooks that include blank spaces for answers, journals, booklets, and printed music that is provided with a charge. It is not possible to consider e-books to be zero-rated.
  • It is not possible to rate children’s clothing. Uniforms are an example. It is possible to apply zero-rating to maximum sizes.
  • Whether the supply is zero-rated or exempt depends on whether it is associated with the supply of exempt education.
  • Sometimes, distance learning courses may be considered zero-rated if they are supplied with a single printed item. In the event of multiple supplies of printed matter and education services, the supply should be allocated between printed matter and zero-rated education services.

The reduced rate

  • Under state regulations, charities and private welfare institutions may provide welfare information and advice at a reduced rate.
  • When the supply provided by the eligible body meets the criteria for exempt education, the exemption gets priority.
  • Assisting the aged, sick, distressed, or disabled physically or mentally, as well as protecting and caring for children or young people, must be the focus of the advice provided.

Exemption from VAT for education providers

The following types of exemptions are available:

  1. An assessment that does not take the learner’s age into account.
  2. It is based on the age of the learner.
  • Education and vocational training provided by qualified organizations are exempt from VAT
  • The tuition of a subject by an individual teacher, who is independent of the employer, in a school or university is exempt.
  • The services of an eligible body or a teacher in connection with examinations are exempt.
  • Educational and vocational training, along with any necessary goods supplied by the same person, are exempt from tax under government acts (for example, the apprenticeships act or the employment training act).
  • When education or vocational training is provided together with all relevant goods and paid for by the secretary of state, it is exempt if the recipient is:
  • A person under the age of 19
  • Have completed their education before the age of 19 but have not yet reached their 19th birthday
  • Has been enrolled in school between the ages of 19 and 24 and has been identified as having learning difficulties.
  • The exemption will apply to goods and services that are closely associated with the education provided by an eligible body in the following circumstances:
  • It is the students who directly benefit from the goods and services that are provided through education.
  • Both eligible bodies are making goods and services, or one eligible body is making goods and services for another eligible body, who is making the supply of education.

Choosing a VAT Accountant might be a good first step for those who are uncertain and confused about the kind of education and VAT Accounting they should pursue.

Courses related to VAT and training

There is a difference in VAT on training courses. Is training VAT-exempt? This is a question that many people ask. Training courses are VAT-exempt, or do you have to pay VAT? The VAT exemption does not apply to all types of training courses. It is vatable training when there is in-person interaction between the trainer and trainee and the goal is to impart skills that will be beneficial to the trainee in the future. Online training courses fall into the category of digital services, in which virtual training is conducted online and is subject to a 20% VAT rate.

In what ways are eligible bodies defined?

In order to be eligible, the following bodies must meet the following criteria:

  • A school can be considered either of the following according to the UK education Act:
  • Grants from the Secretary of State
  • An independent registered organization
  • School run by a foundation, community group, or volunteer
  • A school that is maintained
  • Schools with special needs
  • School maintained by grant
  • Subsidiaries of UK universities are not included in this list.
  • Further and higher education institutions appointed under the UK’s Further and Higher Education Acts
  • Among the public bodies are:
  • Departments of the government
  • Authorities local to the area
  • Generally, a non-profit organization that performs the duties of a government department or local authority.
  • Profits from supplying education are invested to enhance and improve those supplies, given that they cannot and do not manage or distribute those profits.
  • An organization that teaches English as a foreign language

Tuition and VAT in the private sector

The private tuition exemption is usually the most misunderstood part of the VAT education exemption. A private teacher does not have to pay VAT under the following conditions.

There are two conditions that must be met for the supply of tuition to be exempt:

  • Tutors should supply tuition in a subject that is normally taught in schools or universities, along with evidence that it is normally taught.
  • The provision of it must be the responsibility of individuals acting independently of the employer.

These are some examples of courses that don’t qualify as being taught in a school or university

  • Dance of the belly
  • Practicing yoga
  • In Pilates,

In schools, the following subjects are normally taught:

  • Playing golf
  • Assisting in tennis

The following points should also be taken into consideration:

A teacher who is independent of the employer should provide it.

Partnering sole traders and partnerships qualify if tuition is provided by the partner.

The tutor must be employed by the company to qualify, so limited companies are not eligible.

How does the examination process work?

In addition to conducting and marking exams, setting education and training standards, making assessments, and other services, these services ensure the maintenance of education and training standards. All of these services are VAT-exempt educational services.

Goods and services closely related to each other

It is possible to treat as non-business education those goods and services that are closely associated with the education if the education is being provided by an individual who has non-business income, such as income from grants.

The goods and services must be provided at cost or below for them to be considered non-business, i.e., they must not make any profit.

Goods or services closely related to the supply of education are exempt if the supply of education by an eligible body is exempt. In those cases, there is no requirement that the goods or services be non-profit:

Under the VAT on educational materials, the following can be considered closely related goods or services:

  • Equipment for sports (excluding clothing)
  • Equipment for math classes
  • Hostel accommodation for students
  • The transportation of students
  • Catering for students
  • Trips for students
  • Visits to field sites

Furthermore, you should be aware of the following:

  • In the absence of a close connection to education, goods and services will be subject to ordinary VAT treatment.
  • The term “closely related goods” does not include laptops.
  • Meals provided to staff are subject to normal VAT rules for food and catering.

The following are examples of services that are considered closely related by HMRC:

  • Education is provided through business ventures
  • In order for the activity to be beneficial to the students’ education, the students must lead it.
  • These activities do not aim to generate additional income that directly competes with commercial enterprises. In other words, this implies:
  • Using advertising to market services to the general public is not a good idea.
  • Providing services to the general public clearly exceeds the income generated.

Staffing supplies

There is no tax on the supply of teaching staff or faculty between eligible bodies.

Staff supplies are generally rated according to the standard rating.

What is the process for recovering VAT on education?

Education providers must register for VAT if they make any taxable supplies, whether zero-rated, reduced-rated, or standard-rated.

If their taxable supplies exceed the VAT threshold, education providers must register for VAT in the same way as other businesses.

When a provider is VAT registered, VAT can be reclaimed to the extent that it is incurred on costs directly related to the taxable supplies. It is important to provide evidence of the actual VAT rate, as well as to properly charge the VAT. Find out more about VAT by clicking here.

Depending on whether a business is partially exempt or possesses non-business supplies along with taxable supplies, a partial exemption may be needed in order to calculate the amount of VAT associated with non-business or exempt supplies and residual VAT that can be reclaimed.

You should consult a professional accountant, or if you do not have one, search online for an accountant near me to help you claim the VAT amounts correctly and without making any mistakes.

Our trained in-house VAT Accountants at Clear House Accountants ensure that smart and effective VAT solutions are implemented for our clients while ensuring accuracy and savings. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Does training qualify for VAT exemption or zero-rating?

VAT is exempt from training in only a few circumstances, namely if it is provided by a recognized body to children and young people. For training courses where these conditions do not apply, VAT will be charged. As a result, training does not qualify for VAT exemption.

Training courses in the UK are subject to VAT at what rate?

In the case of a training program for children and young people provided by an industry-recognized body, there is no VAT to pay. Unless the provider is recognized, 23% VAT will be applied to UK training courses if they are not recognized.

Are our online training courses subject to VAT in the UK?

Training courses offered online fall under the category of digital services. In the UK, VAT is applied at 20% to online courses.

Providers of education are exempted from education VAT?

Educational institutions can claim VAT exemption, but they must meet the following requirements to qualify:
Institutes of learning
Technology colleges in cities
Schools that serve the community
Special education schools in the community
Schools with a foundation
Special schools founded on foundations
Schools that are free
Schools in Northern Ireland that are grant-maintained (integrated)
In Scotland, self-governing schools exist
Schools that are aided by voluntary organizations, including former special agreement schools
Schools under the control of the voluntary sector

Is VAT paid by schools?

Schools and other educational institutions are not subject to VAT, as is the case with “non-business income” activities. Private tuition, schools, universities, and universities are exempt from VAT. Educators and education material can be reclaimed by schools as VAT on educational services. Nevertheless, some sales activities are taxable, such as meals for staff and visitors and school photos.

Is VAT paid by universities?

A university’s main activities, such as the supply of education, are VAT-exempt since it falls under the category of an eligible body
HMRC has designated a category that is VAT-exempt.

Purchases made by schools are subject to VAT?

Activities that do not generate business income are exempt from VAT. Purchasing educational materials for educational purposes, such as goods and services, can be reclaimed. Institutes are also exempt from VAT on fees they receive.

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