VAT paid by the House of Commons (2012)

Request

Which activities of the House of Commons are registered for VAT purposes?

How much VAT was paid by the House of Commons to HMRC in the 2010/11?  

Response

The House of Commons is registered for VAT in the same way as Government Departments and therefore follows HMRC VAT guidance for Government Departments. 
Those supplies that are ‘taxable supplies’ provided in the course of ‘business’ are liable to have VAT charged on them – for the House of Commons these include the following:

  • Catering and retail services
  • Banqueting facilities
  • Commercial tours of the House
  • Parliamentary Broadcasting supplies and services


VAT incurred in the course of making these supplies can be recovered.  The total amount of VAT paid on supplies to HMRC and included as part of the VAT return in 2010-11 was £1,674k.


Additionally, certain activities carried out by the House are ‘deemed’ to be ‘business’ for VAT purposes in the Treasury (Taxing) Direction and therefore the VAT made on these purchases can be recovered.  The Taxing Direction is published and lists those trading activities where VAT can be recovered.
The House submits a quarterly VAT return to HMRC which results in a net recovery - expenditure incurred on activities listed in the Taxing Direction exceeds VAT charged on business supplies.