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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Entity to be registered: Government departments

The VAT affairs of Government Departments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are dealt with by the Supply Policy Team.

Enquiries about NHS bodies (but not the Department of Health) should be referred to the NHS Admin Team.

Government departments are not bound by the provisions concerning registration and enforcement, but all are specially registered. Any part of a government department may be treated as a separate entity for the purposes of VAT, if the Treasury so directs. For example, the Fire Service College can be registered separately from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and account for the tax due on its supplies separately.

The following bodies are treated in the same way as government departments:

  • the Houses of Parliament
  • regional and area health authorities
  • the boards of governors of certain teaching hospitals
  • regional health boards (in Scotland)
  • executive agencies and trading funds
  • NHS trusts.