Simplifying the VAT land exemption: Summary of responses

  • Most responses were in favour of some simplification to existing rules, although a number felt the current rules are understood and work well.
  • The majority of responses urged caution over sweeping changes to the current rules: targeted simplification in specific areas was preferred.
  • Current difficulties identified included the Option to tax anti-avoidance rules, mixed-use developments and short term arrangements such as conference facilities where is unclear if the supply should be treated as a property letting or as the provision of facilities.
  • Suggestions previously Made and discounted by the OTS were rejected by a majority of respondents. These suggestions included removing the option to tax or making all commercial land and property taxable with an option to exempt.
  • Most respondents disliked the idea of linking the VAT liability of interests in land to those recorded in land registers.

Suggestions given by respondents for simplifying the existing rules included:

  • Reforming the option to tax anti-avoidance legislation.
  • Maintaining a real-time accessible public record of land and property which has been opted.
  • Shortening the option to tax revocation period to 10 years.




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