The application form has guidance on what building projects and materials qualify for a VAT refund. The basics are listed below.
The home must:
- be separate and self-contained
- be for you or your family to live or holiday in
- not be for business purposes (you can use one room as a work from home office)
Builders working on new buildings should be zero-rated anyway and you won't pay any VAT on their services.
The building being converted must usually be a non-residential building. Residential buildings qualify if they haven't been lived in for at least 10 years.
You may claim a refund for builders' work on a conversion of non-residential building into home. For other conversions builders can charge a reduced VAT rate.
Communal and charity buildings
You may get a VAT refund if the building is for 1 of the following purposes:
- non-business - you can't charge a fee for the use of the building
- charitable, eg a hospice
- residential, eg a children's home
You may claim a VAT refund for building materials that are incorporated into the building and can't be removed without tools or damaging the building.
What doesn't qualify
You can't get a VAT refund for:
- building projects in the Channel Islands
- materials or services that don't have any VAT - eg they were zero-rated or exempt
- professional or supervisory fees - eg architects, surveyors
- hiring machinery or equipment
- buildings for business purposes
- buildings that can't be sold or used separately from another property because of a planning permission condition
- building materials that aren't permanently attached to or part of the building itself
- fitted furniture, some electrical and gas appliances, carpets or garden ornaments