VAT on community building refurbishments - a 'tax on voluntary effort'


Most building work on community halls and centres is liable for VAT at the standard rate of 20%. So a village hall committee raising funds for a £200,000 extension has to find another £40,000 for the VAT bill.

It has been described as a ‘tax on voluntary effort’ and reducing this tax burden is one of the priorities of the National Village and Community Halls Network, which is run by our national partner organisation ACRE.

We’re asking you to do two things:

Firstly, join the Network (at no cost) so you can be informed of and get involved in national campaigns like this. Just go to this web page and click on the large blue link near the bottom of the page.

Please also take action – let your local MP and councillors know about this issue, especially if you have recently had some major building works on your community hall / centre. Say how much longer your fundraising took in order to cover the VAT bill. Tell them what further improvements you could have made to your building if you didn’t have to pay VAT on the cost of the works.

For background information and some inspiration your own lobbying, please see below for ACRE’s Jan 2017 Budget proposal and a letter sent by ACRE’s chair of trustees to the Chancellor last September. The ACRE proposal explains how a VAT refund scheme would bring many benefits, so do take a look and use the ideas in there to make the case to your local politicians.



Finally, there are a couple of potential ways to avoid the VAT bill on a forthcoming building project, although both have complications! Action Hampshire members are welcome to contact us for more information.