Revenue and Customs Brief 5 2021 VAT liability of installation of blinds 1st-tier Tribunal decision
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Published 11 May 2021
Purpose of this brief
This brief explains HMRC’s policy concerning the VAT treatment
of installation of blinds following the First-tier Tribunal’s (FTT) decision in Wickford
Development Co Ltd (Wickford) (Decision No TC2017/08197 and
In particular, it explains that HMRC accepts that manual blinds are
considered as building materials for the purposes of construction
Who should read this
Organisations in the construction industry and their advisers.
VAT liability background
The construction of a residential property is zero-rated for VAT
purposes. The zero rate applies to the construction services and to the
‘building materials’ incorporated into the property by the
persons supplying those construction services.
The zero rate is restricted to those basic materials that make up
the structure of a property, for example:
Standard fittings and fixtures that enable the property to function
are also covered. Examples are:
- kitchen units
- work surfaces
- sinks and draining boards
- wash hand basins
of building materials for the purposes of VAT
Note 22, Group 5, Schedule 8 of the VAT Act 1994, provides the
details of what items are covered by the Input Tax blocking order under
paragraph 6 SI1992/3222. The law defines ‘building
materials’, in relation to the construction of a building, as
‘goods of a description ordinarily incorporated by builders in a
building of that description (or its site)’. Some goods are
specifically excluded from the definition, for example, fitted
furniture, electrical and gas appliances but with some exceptions.
Kitchen furniture and boilers are examples of these exceptions.
VAT through a refund scheme if you are a DIY house builder
You are unable to benefit from the zero rate provided for
‘building materials’ if you both:
- buy building materials
- use your own (or other) labour to incorporate those materials
into your properties
However, you can claim the VAT charged on those materials through a
refund scheme. You can only recover the VAT amounts for the basic
materials and standard fixtures and fittings.
First-tier Tribunal’s decision and HMRC’s revised policy
In Customs Brief 02/11, HMRC stated that roller blinds (and other
‘window furniture’) are not ‘building
materials’, meaning that the VAT was blocked and could not be
The FTT concluded that
manual window blinds are goods of a description ordinarily incorporated
by builders into properties as single family dwellings. They also ruled
that they do not fall into any of the exceptions contained in the
HMRC has accepted the FTT’s
decision that manual window blinds and shutters are considered building
materials for VAT purposes. They can now be zero-rated when installed
in a qualifying build.
This does not extend to any window blinds that are motorised. These
are included in the exceptions of the blocking order as electrical
appliances. HMRC’s policy on curtains has not changed as they are
not fixtures incorporated into a building.
Date of policy change
This decision takes effect from 5 October 2020.
Adjustments where VAT was
In cases where VAT was disallowed, an adjustment can be made on the
For information on how to make adjustments, the 4-year cap and rules
relating to unjust enrichment see How to
correct VAT errors and make adjustments or claims (VAT Notice 700/45).
About the Author
© Crown Copyright 2021.
A licence is needed to reproduce this article and has been republished
for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by
permission of HM Revenue & Customs.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2021-05-11 21:57:49 in Tax Articles