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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Police authorities: introduction

England and Wales

Police and Crime Commissioners (in London the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) and Chief Constables (in London the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) are included as section 33 bodies under sub-section (3)(f) (see VATGPB4120). From 16 January 2012 these replaced Police authorities.


The Scottish Police Authority is not a section 33 body.

Northern Ireland

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is accepted as a Police authority and is therefore a section 33 body.

General Position

The majority of police activities and expenditure arise from the non-business responsibility for upholding law and order.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the police can recover the VAT incurred on goods and services purchased to support their non-business activities under section 33. They can also recover up to 5 per cent of the VAT incurred in connection with their exempt business activities (see VATGPB4500).

The police are able to charge for services they provide. These services can be either business or non-business.