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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Introduction: representative bodies

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is the professional body that represents the chief finance officers of local authorities. Although local authorities obtain much of their information from CIPFA it does not negotiate on their behalf.

VAT Supply Team (see VATGPB1600) has a close relationship with CIPFA’s VAT working party and sits on its VAT Committee. HMRC also works with CIPFA via an online forum known as the Tisonline Discussion Forum. This debates current issues and highlights them for the VAT Committee. HMRC colleagues are encouraged to participate in the forum as comments posted there are for discussion purposes only and are not binding.

Through its VAT working party CIPFA acts as a disseminator of advice and a channel of communication between local authorities and HMRC. As part of this role CIPFA produces ‘The Value Added Tax Reference Manual’ which is distributed to local authorities. It is used by authorities on a day-to-day basis as their primary source of information about VAT. CIPFA issues regular updates on changes to VAT which affect local authorities through circulars known as ‘FIS News’. HMRC has taken a general subscription to CIPFA VAT services which can be accessed at on completion of a simple on-line registration form.

Other representative bodies liaise with VAT Supply Team on matters of policy and in consultation. These include the:

  • Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local government in England and Wales
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), which represents the interest of Scottish authorities, and
  • Society of County Treasurers.

VAT Supply Team also meets with police authorities and their tax advisers. Other organisations representing different levels of authority are invited to comment on issues such as proposals for future legislation, policy changes and notices.