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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Section 33 bodies: recoverable VAT: circumstances in which VAT may be incurred

VAT registered section 33 bodies can use the refund arrangements to claim VAT incurred on supplies made directly to them, or acquisitions or importations by them, that are not for the purpose of any business activity.

Non-VAT registered section 33 bodies are unable to quote a VAT registration number when purchasing from other EU Member States. As a result they may well be charged VAT at source on such purchases. VAT charged by suppliers in other EU Member States is not recoverable, and refunds to non-VAT registered section 33 bodies are therefore restricted to VAT incurred on UK supplies and importations.