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HMRC internal manual

VAT Education Manual

Group 6 Item 2 Private tuition and tutorial colleges: scope of the private tuition exemption

When an individual teacher supplies education or training in a personal capacity or as a member of a partnership, on their own account and at their own risk, the supply is exempt under item 2 of Group 6 of Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994, provided that the instruction is in a subject ordinarily taught in a school or university. The exemption applies equally to partners in limited liability partnerships.

What does ‘ordinarily’ mean?

A reasonable test for ordinarily is whether the subject is taught in a number of schools or universities on a regular basis. In practice, the vast majority of structured courses delivered by an individual teacher are likely to meet this criterion.

What does ‘subject’ mean?

Private tuition is only considered to be in a subject ordinarily taught in a school or university if it is analogous to what is actually taught in a number of schools or universities. It does not have to be identical to a course provided by a number of schools or universities but should be of a similar nature and level.

The purpose or the recipients of the private tuition do not determine the VAT treatment but may be an indication of whether the tuition is likely to be of a subject ordinarily taught in a school or university.

Where there is any doubt that the subject is one taught in a school or university the business will be required to produce evidence to support their claim.

Conditions that do not preclude exempt treatment

For the purposes of this exemption it is irrelevant whether the individual teacher:

  • delivers the instruction to one person or to a group;
  • contracts with an individual, or with an organisation that makes an onward supply of the educational services; or
  • works under a franchise agreement that allows him or her to use the teaching methods, name or trading style of another person or organisation.

Sporting and recreational activities {.filledcircle}

Instruction and coaching in sporting and recreational activities qualify as exempt private tuition, provided that the supply meets all the other necessary conditions.

Motorcycle and car driving instruction

As a general rule motorcycle training will not meet the requirements of the exemption for private tuition.

Our view is that car-driving lessons, carried out on public highways, are not a subject ordinarily taught in a school or university, so are not covered by this exemption.