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HMRC internal manual

VAT Groups

Eligibility for VAT group treatment: eligibility conditions for specified bodies

The VAT (Groups: eligibility) Order 2004 (SI 2004/1931), made under powers given by VAT Act 1994, section 43AA, came into force on 1 August 2004 but its effects apply to all groups formed prior to that date. The order is an anti-avoidance measure.

From 1 August 2004 “specified bodies” must satisfy two extra conditions (the benefit condition and the consolidated accounts condition) in order to be members of a VAT group. See below for a short outline of the meaning of “specified body” and of the eligibility conditions. Full details of the criteria and tests to be applied can be found in VGROUPS03000.

Specified body

A body corporate in or applying to join a VAT group is a “specified body” if all the following apply:

  • the VAT group turnover exceeded £10m in the last year or is expected to exceed £10m in the coming year (see VGROUPS03190)
  • the body corporate concerned is partly owned by a third party, or the business activity is managed by a third party, or the body corporate is the sole general partner of a limited partnership (see VGROUPS03210 and VGROUPS03230)
  • the body corporate or limited partnership (see VGROUPS03230) has a relevant business activity - one that involves making supplies to other group members (see VGROUPS03300)
  • the body is not specifically excepted from being a specified body (see VGROUPS03250).

Benefits condition

The benefits condition will be satisfied if no more than 50% of the benefits generated by the business activity accrue to third parties (see VGROUPS03210).

Group accounts consolidation condition

The group accounts consolidation condition is satisfied if the following requirements are met:

  • under generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP), a person controlling the VAT group consolidates the specified body as a subsidiary in his consolidated group accounts, and
  • there is no third party (see VGROUPS03210) who under GAAP consolidates the specified body as a subsidiary in his consolidated group accounts.