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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Section 33 bodies: registration and accounting: claims for repayment of over-paid or under-claimed VAT

Belated claims made by section 33 bodies in relation to their business and non-business activities are subject to capping rules.

  • For business activities claims for under-declared input tax or over-declared output tax may be made up to four years after the due date of the prescribed accounting period in which the under or over declaration occurred
  • For non-business activities claims for under-declared section 33 refunds may be made up to three years after the end of the month in which the supply, acquisition or importation was received. From 1 July 2018 this period is extended to four years, but no claim can be made for goods imported or acquired or on goods or services supplied before 30 June 2015.

For example, at present you have three years from the accounting period on which a claim was made to adjust that claim. From 1 July 2018 this period is extended to four years.

  • on 30 June 2018, the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made is that ending on 30 June 2015
  • On 31 July  2018, the earliest accounting period for which a claim may be made would be that ending on 30 June 2015
  • Similarly, on 30 November 2018, the earliest accounting period that can be claimed for will also be that ending on 30 June 2015. However, by 31 July 2019, the four-year time limit will have come fully into effect so that a claim made on that date can go back to the quarter ending 31 July 2015.

The Court of Appeal confirmed in the case of Cardiff City Council ([2004] STC 356) that when a section 33 body makes a claim for overpaid output tax, the status of the VAT return excluding section 33 VAT should be considered. If stripping out the section 33 tax results in a payment return consideration must be given to whether unjust enrichment applies under section 80 of the VAT Act 1994. Policy for this issue rests with Central Policy, Tax Administration Advice.