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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

HM Revenue & Customs
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Other local authority activities: miscellaneous (N to Z): pest control

Local authorities have various powers and duties under section 83 of the Health Act 1936 and sections 2 to 6 of the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to ensure that their area, including privately owned property, is free of pests and vermin.

Under both Acts a local authority can serve a notice on a property owner or occupier to take action. If the property owner does not comply the local authority can act itself and recover the costs. Any action by a local authority in these circumstances is statutory in nature and so its charges are non-business.

If, on the other hand, the occupier or owner responds to a notice by asking the authority to act, or notifies the authority of a problem and asks the authority to deal with it, the authority is acting in competition with private sector suppliers. Any charge levied by the local authority for this work is therefore standard rated.