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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

Government departments and health authorities: introduction

This section provides details of how VAT applies to UK government departments and health authorities.

Historically, HMRC provided separate ‘Guidance Notes’ for government departments and health authorities which were written as an aide memoir for finance officials. These notes acted as a supplement to the existing guidance and public notices and highlighted where the rules for government departments and health authorities differ from those which apply to other VAT registered businesses.

HMRC are in the process of transferring the ‘Guidance Notes’ on Contracted Out Services (COS) to an on-line manual, this is being completed as a rolling programme. Details of the COS Headings that have been transferred can be found at VATGPB9700. For any Headings that are not currently on-line, government departments and health authorities can continue to rely on the existing guidance which remains extant.

HMRC would like to stress that the transfer of guidance from the ‘Guidance Notes’ to the on-line version does not include any changes in policy, however amendments have been made to make the guidance clearer and further updates of additional examples of what can be claimed under each Heading will be included in due course.

Please note that HMRC will only be transferring guidance specific to government departments and health authorities from the ‘Guidance Notes’ as any generic information on VAT can be found in existing guidance and public notes published by HMRC.