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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Certificates for qualifying buildings: what a certificate does

A certificate simply informs how a building is intended to be used. To be valid it must be issued to the supplier by the recipient of the supply before the supply is made. If a certificate is not issued, or is issued belatedly, a supply in connection with a qualifying use cannot be zero-rated. However, as noted in Section 16 of Notice 708 Buildings and construction, HMRC will allow suppliers to adjust their VAT on receipt of a belated certificate provided that:

  • it can be demonstrated that, at the time of the supply, the building was intended to be used solely for the qualifying purposes


  • all other conditions for zero-rating or reduced-rating are met.

All intended occupational uses of the building must be taken into consideration when determining whether a certificate can be issued.

Note: The certificate does not confirm that all conditions for zero-rating or reduced-rating have been met. Conditions, such as whether the work is the construction of a building or an annexe, can be readily determined by the supplier and, therefore, do not form part of the certificate declaration.