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HMRC internal manual

VAT Education Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Group 6 Item 3 Examination services services including school inspections: school inspections

Supplies made under contract with the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED)

School inspections are in principle within the scope of item 3 of Group 6 of Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994 (VATEDU15000). Formerly, until 9 December 2010, we had accepted that the supply of school inspection services by private contractors to OFSTED were standard rated. It followed that the contractors were entitled to recover as input tax any VAT incurred on goods and services used in connection with supplying school inspection services to OFSTED.

Following a review of this position we now take the view that inspection services are to be treated as exempt.

Supplies made under contract with other bodies

All other school inspection services are exempt. This includes inspections supplied direct to a school in the state sector. For example, some schools request pre-inspection visits, and the school pays the contractor directly for such a service.

School inspections and similar services commissioned by independent fee-paying schools are always exempt.