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HMRC internal manual

VAT Education Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Group 6 Item 1 Education, research and vocational training provided by eligible bodies: what is vocational training?: introduction

It is sometimes necessary to distinguish between a supply of education which is specifically one of vocational training and one that is not. Generally the VAT treatment will be the same for a supply of vocational training as for any other supply of education in the same circumstances. However, item 5 of Group 6 of Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994 relates specifically to vocational training and not to other forms of education or training.

Vocational training includes:

  • training or retraining to carry out, or to enhance an individual’s ability to carry out, any trade profession or employment;
  • training or retraining for voluntary employment which benefits the community - education, health and welfare, and charity work in general;
  • work experience supplied by a business; and
  • any instruction aimed at acquiring or updating knowledge for vocational purposes. This includes such things as non-job specific skills which are taught for vocational purposes. For example, a course in general computer use is not job specific, but if given as part of a vocational course or training regime, is vocational training.

This latter position is supported by Article 14 of EC Council Regulation 1777/2005. This defines vocational training as:-

Vocational training or retraining services provided under the conditions set out in Article 13(A)(1)(i) of Directive 77/388/EEC shall include instruction relating directly to a trade or profession as well as any instruction aimed at acquiring or updating knowledge for vocational purposes. The duration of a vocational training or retraining course shall be irrelevant for this purpose.