This Content Was Last Updated on January 9, 2016 by Jessica Garbett


Details of the latest changes to VAT from HMRC, along with changes to VAT Notices and VAT in the European Union. 

Storage facilities

HMRC has released Revenue & Customs Brief 23/13: Guidance on the provision of storage facilities announcing that VAT Information Sheet 10/13 VAT: Provision of storage facilities has been issued.

The guidance is applicable to ‘suppliers of any facility which is used, or could potentially be used, by their customers for the storage of goods; and customers who rent facilities to store goods’ and replaces VAT Information Sheet 14/12 VAT: Self storage which is cancelled with immediate effect. It impacts on all forms of storage including container storage.

The Brief also highlights that affected businesses can choose to correct past transactions and may wish to make a claim to HMRC (under section 80 of the VAT Act 1994) for repayment of VAT incorrectly accounted for.

Common Agricultural Policy

HMRC has released Notice 780: Common Agricultural Policy import procedures and special directions for goods updates and corrects the March 2013 version of the notice.

Aggregates levy

HMRC has released Revenue & Customs Brief 24/13: European Commission investigation into certain exemptions and reliefs contained within the aggregates levy whichstates that the European Commission have decided to open a formal investigation relating to certain exemptions and reliefs within the aggregates levy.

The Brief provides a background and highlights that ‘if any reliefs or exemptions are found to be unlawful state aid there is a possibility that the Commission could require the UK Government to request businesses that have benefited from those reliefs or exemptions to repay that aid’.

VAT Notices

Recent VAT Notices updates are:

VAT Notice 708: Buildings and construction; the main changes are detailed in sections 9 and 10 of the notice and include:

  • the rules relating to approved alterations of protected buildings have been changed with effect from 1 October 2012
  • works of approved alterations will be standard-rated from 1 October 2012
  • there is a transitional relief that mitigates the impact of the changes
  • the rules relating to the first grant of a major interest in a substantially reconstructed building have been changed
  • the effect of these changes is to restrict zero-rating so that it is no longer available for buildings where substantial reconstruction amounts to three-fifths of the cost of the works
  • zero-rating remains where the works relate to a building substantially reconstructed from a shell
  • the changes to the grants made in respect of substantially reconstructed buildings are subject to a transitional relief. 

VAT Notice 709/1: Catering and take-away food; the main changes are to reflect the new definition of premises and supply of hot take-away food introduced 1 October 2013.

VAT Notice 700/21: Keeping VAT records; the main changes are to bring the notice up to date removing any errors and to introduce the new guidance on issuing VAT simplified invoices by businesses other than retailers.

Further information is available in this VAT Notices Summary, which categorises the available notices into convenient groups and highlights the latest changes.


The Italian government has increased the standard rate of VAT (called IVA in Italy) to 22% and is effective from 1 October 2013. There was previously a decision to scrap this 1% increase: due to political instability the increase is now in place.

For further details on EU VAT rates along with other useful information the ACCA produces a helpful analysis of the 28 EU countries that includes details on:

  • what VAT is called in each member state
  • the EU country code
  • the standard rate of VAT
  • the form and type of the VAT registration number used in each member state
  • the common VAT filing period
  • details of government websites for access to further information.

    Article contributed by ACCA