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What qualifies

Not everyone who self-builds can apply for a VAT refund. You can only apply if your property qualifies.

New homes

If you're building a brand new home from an empty plot, you can apply for a VAT refund as long as your home is:

  • separate and self-contained
  • for you or your family to live or holiday in
  • not for business purposes (though you can make one room a home office)


If you're converting a property that already exists, you can only claim back VAT if the property was:

  • previously a non-residential building (it was used for business)
  • a residential building but hadn't been lived in for more than 10 years

If you're converting a building that was already a residential property, you cannot claim back VAT.

Communal and charity buildings

There are some types of building you may still be able to claim VAT for even if they don't fall into the above categories. These include:

  • communal buildings that are non-business (you can't charge people a fee to use the building)
  • charitable buildings, like hospices
  • some communal residential buildings, like children's homes

Building materials

You can claim VAT back on building materials, as long as they were used to form part of the building and can't be removed without either using tools or damaging the building in the process.

Examples include:

  • fitted kitchen units
  • wood flooring
  • paint
  • solar panels
  • fitted bedroom furniture
  • burglar alarms
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