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HMRC internal manual

VAT Time of supply

HM Revenue & Customs
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Basic tax points: Goods: Goods that are to be 'made available'

Section 6(2)(b) of the VAT Act 1994 (see VATTOS2215) applies to goods that are supplied in situ. The basic tax point occurs when the goods are ‘made available’ to the recipient of the supply. Although section (6)(2)(b) is prefaced with the words ‘if the goods are not to be removed’ this is to be interpreted by reference to the circumstances in which the supply is made rather than to the nature of the goods involved. In other words a ’made available’ basic tax point is not restricted to goods that are incapable of ever being moved. It can apply equally to moveable goods supplied in situ. A good example of this is the supply via a third party finance company (see also VATTOS4210). It is unusual for the finance company to take physical delivery of the goods in such circumstances. Consequently the basic tax point for the supply to the finance company normally occurs when the goods are made available to it.

A ’made available’ basic tax point can also apply in circumstances where, at first sight at least, the goods may be said to have been removed. This is perhaps best illustrated in the case of installed goods. Normally the supply will involve delivery of the components, etc, to the customer’s premises. But it is not the components themselves that are being supplied. Delivery of the components is merely a preliminary step to enable the supplier to supply what is required under the terms of the contract, that is to say goods in a fully assembled and installed state. Since this is undertaken by the supplier on the customer’s premises, it follows that the basic tax point for the supply occurs when the goods are made available to the customer following satisfactory installation.

Fixing the precise time at which goods can be said to have been made available is not always easy. Much will often depend on the facts of the individual case and the terms of the contract under which the goods are being supplied. For example, in the case of installed goods, a supplier may be required to install the goods and then demonstrate to the customer that they are capable of performing to a specified standard. In these circumstances it is unlikely that the goods could be said to have been made available until this latter stage is reached. On the other hand, the supply to a finance company already considered above, will almost certainly involve the goods having been made available to the finance company before they can be supplied to the final customer.