Reclaiming the VAT

VAT costs are often a significant factor when deciding whether or not to undertake a self build project. The size of the potential reclaim can be really significant and we recommend that you read the appropriate notices on the Customs and Excise web site to make sure you understand exactly what can and cannot be claimed, and to establish that your project will qualify.

Generally speaking you should qualify for VAT refunds if you are constructing a 'dwelling' from scratch - there are provisions also for extensions and for re-builds of existing properties if demolished completely, or at least down to foundation level.

You cannot recover all of your VAT costs. If you construct a new eligible building you can only claim for the VAT on those ‘building materials’ incorporated in the building (or its site). For conversions, you can also claim for the VAT on conversion services supplied to you.

Some items on which you cannot reclaim VAT are:

  • fitted furniture, other than fitted kitchen furniture, whether bought ready to fit, in kit form, or materials for the construction of fitted furniture
  • most electrical and gas appliances, for example, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and freezers, waste disposal units, door-bells, and electrically-operated doors (or door locks) and gates
  • carpets, underlay and carpet tiles
  • garden ornaments, sheds and greenhouses
  • plant, tools and equipment
  • consumables that are not actually incorporated in the building (e.g. sand paper, white spirit, etc.)
  • building land

Keeping Records

It is important to keep accurate records as you go along with the project, keep all your invoices together and, we suggest, make a practice of listing every invoice in a book showing the purchase price and the VAT. You will need all this information at the end when it comes to lodging your VAT reclaim, and it is so much easier if this is collated as you go along.

There are various forms you will need to complete as part of your claim submission. You may find it easier to fill these in as your work progresses. We suggest, therefore, that you obtain a VAT claim pack when you start your work. The Claim Pack consisting of the following forms is available from HM Revenue & Customs National Advice Service (Tel: 0845 010 9000):

For guidance and forms see VAT431NB for new builds and/or VAT431C for conversions.

Please note: VAT can only be claimed once and anything you omit from your claim cannot be rectified later.

Your Buildbase contact person will be happy to answer any queries you may have regarding VAT on your purchases.



Buildbase is a trading division of Grafton Merchanting GB Ltd
Grafton Merchanting GB Limited, Head Office: Gemini One, 5520 Oxford Business Park South, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LL
Reg. in England No. 4725313 Member of Grafton Group plc. VAT Reg. No. GB 128 2526 76
Registered Office: PO Box 1224, Pelham House, Canwick Road, Lincoln LN5 5NH

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