pound;15,000 tax bill shocks nursery

27th October 2000 at 01:00
AN early-years centre in Kent, providing nursery places for more than 70 children, as well as out-of-hours clubs for pupils and adult education, has been landed with a pound;15,000 VAT bill.

The purpose-built centre at Hythe community school, opened last month after head Jennie Carter and her staff raised pound;116,000 within a year.

It is run as a charity but faces the tax demand because it charges pound;2 an hour for the nursery and pound;5 for three hours' childminding after-school. The VAT relates to building costs and customs and excise officials have said that even non-profit-making orgainisations are not exempt.

Mrs Carter is considering lending th school the cash for the bill herself. She said there were no plans to increase charges to users.

The Government has pledged every three-year-old whose parents want it will get a free nursery place by September 2004. In the light of this, Mrs Carter said, charging VAT meant the Government was shooting itself in the foot. She added that early-years centres like hers should get government support - most of the money she raised came from businesses or private individuals.

Michael Howard, Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe, wants the Government to clarify the centre can be exempt from VAT. "If it can be, then it ought to be," he said.

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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today