UK distance learning is zero-rated for VAT

Sun 8th Nov 2015

The UK’s First Tier Tribunal has found that the provision of distance learning courses is zero rated for VAT. This means providers may fully reclaim any VAT incurred whilst not charging VAT to their consumer customers.

The UK tax authorities, HMRC, contended that such services are standard rated educational services, and so should be liable to the UK VAT rate of 20%. However, the Tribunal held that learning materials send to home/office study students were a provision of printed materials, and therefore entitled to the nil rating. This was on the basis that the materials were central to the service, and not an incidental as in education provided in centers.

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