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HMRC internal manual

VAT Land and Property

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Option to tax: decision and notification: transfers of going concerns and auctions

See section 11 of Notice 742A for guidance on how the option to tax relates to transfers of going concerns. Where land or buildings are purchased at auction as a going concern, the ‘relevant date’ (see paragraph 11.2.2, Notice 742A) may not necessarily be the date of the auction.

  • Where the auctioneer is acting as an agent of the vendor, the receipt of the deposit by the auctioneer creates the relevant date.
  • However, following the decision in Higher Education Statistics Agency Ltd (QB(2000) STC 332), where the auctioneer is a stakeholder for the vendor, the relevant date will be that on which any funds are released to the vendor/agent of the vendor, or completion, whichever is the earlier. This event may occur some weeks after the auction.