Exempt Income

The income the University receives from eligible bodies is classed as exempt, which means that any attributable input tax cannot be recovered:

  • education
  • supplies closely related to education
  • research to another eligible body
  • examination services
  • fund raising events

Eligible Bodies are:

  • UK Universities
  • Schools
  • Local Authorities
  • Government Departments and Executive Agencies
  • Non-profit making bodies and organisations

Education includes:

  • Undergraduate education
  • Post graduate education
  • Short courses
  • Adult education
  • Seminars
  • Vocational training
  • Conferences ( but conference facilities are Vatable)

Supplies closely related to education are exempt if they are for the direct benefit of a student or trainee, and, necessary for the delivery of education to the student or trainee.

We can also exempt student accommodation, catering, transport and field trips.

If the goods and services are not closely related to education then they are not exempt from VAT.

The following items are always Vatable at the standard rate:

  • All supplies for staff and visitors
  • All sales from vending machines
  • Sales of goods from campus shops
  • All sales of drinks and alcohol
  • Administration and management services
  • All sales to staff of second hand equipment
  • All items purchased on behalf of staff for re-imbursement

Students from other eligible bodies

Goods and services we supply direct to students and trainees of other eligible bodies are treated exactly the same as supplies to our own students.

However, if we supply conferences facilities to another eligible body it is Vatable at the standard rate, unless they give us a signed Certificate stating that the facilities are for their own students. A copy of the Certificate is at Section 7.3.

We would supply a similar Certificate to another eligible body if we were using their facilities for the benefit of our students.

Research to an eligible body

Supplies of research to another eligible body are exempt from VAT, and if their status is not obvious, we should ask them to complete the Declaration in Section 7.4 confirming their status.

All other supplies of research in the UK are standard rated.

HMRC define research as: “original investigation undertaken in order to gain, advance or expand knowledge and understanding”.

Research is NOT:

  • Merely confirming existing knowledge
  • Consulting
  • Collecting and recording statistics without also collating, analysing, or interpreting them
  • Market research
  • Writing computer programmes
  • Routine testing and analysis of materials or components

Examination services

Supplies of the following examination services are exempt from VAT:

  • Setting and marking examinations
  • Setting educational or training standards
  • Marking assessments
  • Other services provided with a view to ensuring educational and training standards are maintained

Fundraising events

  • If the University organises a fund raising event and it is advertised as such, then it is exempt from VAT, and VAT is not charged on the sale of tickets.

However, no input VAT can be recovered on the costs of staging and organising the event. If the event is not promoted as a fund raising event - even if the expectation is to raise money - then it is Vatable at the standard rate.

Sports facilities

As a general rule, admission charges to sports facilities and events are standard rated, but the University is able to exempt the following supplies:

  • Students using the facilities as part of their education
  • Staff and students who are members
  • Sports pitches hired out for a period over 24 hours, or for a series of 10 or more sessions in a given period

Admission charges for spectators to view, locker hire, sun-beds, vending machine sales, etc, are always Vatable at the standard rate.


Professional Services