Courses remain free of VAT

21st March 1997 at 00:00
Ian Nash implies ("Concern over VAT threat", TES, March 7) that Customs and Excise is requiring course-providers such as the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre to account for VAT on course fees. This is not the case. Courses remain VAT-exempt when the provider is either a local authority or similar statutory body, which includes the National Parks in Wales.

These organisations, however, do incur VAT in providing courses, but they have a special entitlement to recover VAT in respect of their non-business statutory functions. This does not extend to their business activities which are treated for tax purposes in the same way as commercial providers.

Business, for VAT purposes, includes any activity that is mainly concerned with supplying goods or services for any form of regular payment and on a substantial scale.

This is the case even if the activity is not carried on for profit or is undertaken by an organisation with charitable status. The educational activities of the Snowdonia Centre clearly meet this definition.

There is a competitive marketplace for the provision of courses from a wide variety of providers with alternative modes of delivery. It is therefore important to maintain the exempt business ruling for organisations such as the Snowdonia Centre to ensure a reasonably level playing field in this area.


HM Customs Excise VAT Social Division New King's Beam House 22 Upper Grounds, London SE1

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today