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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Zero-rating the ‘approved alteration’ of a ‘protected building’: is the work ‘approved’: places of worship and ecclesiastical exemption

Listed building consent is not needed for any works of alteration to an ecclesiastical building to which section 60 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 applies. Any alteration (that is not repair or maintenance) to the fabric of the building that has ecclesiastical exemption is an approved alteration.

Notice 708 Buildings and construction:

  • lists the buildings that qualify for ecclesiastical exemption
  • explains the internal controls churches put in place
  • suggests what evidence should be retained to support zero-rating.

This does not include work to ministers’ residences, where listed building consent is still needed before work can be classed as an ‘approved alteration’. This is confirmed by the Value Added Tax Act 1994, Schedule 8, Group 6, Note 7.

Listed building consent is also required for works to listed ecclesiastical buildings that are no longer used for religious purposes.