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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.

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.