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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

HM Revenue & Customs
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Zero-rating the ‘approved alteration’ of a ‘protected building’: is the work to a ‘protected building’: garages

A ‘protected building’ is a single building, with the single exception of a garage which can be in a separate building.

The law allows a garage to form part of a building designed to remain as or become a dwelling when it is occupied together with the dwelling and is either:

  • constructed at the same time as the dwelling


  • where the building has been substantially reconstructed, at the same time as that reconstruction.

Where a garage qualifies as part of the dwelling, it can take the form of a separate building or be part of the same building as the dwelling.

It is not necessary for the garage to have been constructed as a garage (that is as an enclosure for the storage of motor vehicles). It can also have been constructed as something different, for example a barn. Provided the enclosure is in use as a garage before the alteration (or reconstruction) and continues to be in use afterwards, and meets the remaining conditions stated above, it qualifies as part of the ‘protected building’.

This interpretation of garage is supported by Grange Builders (Quainton) (VTD 18905), where it was held that:

…the word ‘garage’ connotes only a building or shed for the storage of one or more motor vehicles ….There is no additional requirement that the garage must have been constructed as a garage, or that it must have been designed as a garage or have been a dedicated garage at the time of its construction. It is enough if it was built at the same time as the building designed to remain as or become a dwelling together with which it is to be occupied

VCONST08600 provides guidance on the construction of buildings within the curtilage of a protected building.