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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Alterations and repair or maintenance - case law and agreements: windows

Works to replace a window are not considered to be alterations unless the design or construction of the window is changed, for example to replace single glazing with double glazing or clear pane with stained or leaded windows. Please note that such works may be also for repair or maintenance purposes.

This view was upheld in the following cases:

  • Ventrolla Ltd (VTD 12045): The Company installed a system whose chief characteristic was the reduction of draughts through sash windows. It involved fitting a modern sash into an existing window-frame, which, superficially, did not appear to be different from the previous sash. The Tribunal held it was repair or maintenance.
  • Logmoor Limited (VTD 14733): Replacement windows were inserted in existing window openings. The Tribunal held it was repair or maintenance.

We also consider that the installation of secondary glazing, such as a glazing unit installed behind an existing window to improve insulation or soundproofing is a meaningful change to the fabric of the building and, as a result, is an alteration.