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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Alterations and repair or maintenance - case law and agreements: church bells and bell frames

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) accepts that the fabric of a church includes a bell frame, but does not include fittings such as the bells themselves or ringing fittings.

The following are alterations that can be zero-rated:

  • a new bell frame that occupies a different position from the existing frame
  • a new bell frame that differs in size or design from the existing bell frame
  • alterations to an existing bell frame to carry an extra bell or bells.

The following goods supplied by the installing contractor as part of the above works are also zero-rated:

  • new or additional bells, installed at the same time as a zero-rated bell frame or a zero-rated alteration to an existing bell frame
  • a completely new set of ringing fittings needed to operate bells, supplied in conjunction with, and at the same time, as the provision of a zero-rated bell frame.

It is agreed that the following are standard-rated:

  • a new bell frame that replaces one in poor condition
  • the supply of any bells and/or bell fittings that don’t fall within the zero-rating above
  • recast, repairs, tuning, remodelling or any other work to existing bells
  • repairs to an existing bell frame and ringing fittings
  • spare parts and other goods provided in conjunction with zero-rated work but not installed
  • incidental alterations to an existing bell frame in conjunction with the provision of new bells or fittings that replace defective bells or fittings.