For a number of years HM Treasury have been considering potential reforms to the Contracted-Out-Services – numbered 1 through to 76 – which you will be familiar with from our reports. As a quick recap these rules [Section 41 VATA94] are the mechanism with which NHS and Government Departments (GD) reclaims VAT on certain outsourced services.
As a result of the recent decision of the Upper Tribunal in the case of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, there is an opportunity for any NHS bodies that were accounting for VAT by using the 50% input tax block, to reclaim this ‘blocked’ input tax.
The Chancellor has announced a new VAT relief alongside several other relevant statements:
– Scottish Fire and Police services will no longer be liable for VAT, this will take effect from April 2018; bringing them in line with their counterparts around the United Kingdom.
– The VAT registration threshold will remain at £85,000.00 for the next two years, despite suggestions it could be lowered following a report by the Office of Tax Simplification earlier in November
– It was announced that there would be an “Accident Rescue Charities Grant Scheme”, this appears to be an extension to the 2014 Budget where it was confirmed that VAT relief would be granted to search and rescue charities; essentially a grant to help alleviate the VAT incurred.
In relation to the NHS, they have announced that a one-off £2.8bn of additional funding will be made available in the period of 2017-2020. The funding will be released in three tranches to the health service:
– £350m 2017/18 immediate cash injection to help ease winter pressures
– £1,650m 2018/19
– £850m 2019/20
Additionally a £10bn package of capital investment in front-line services will be provided through to the end of parliament; presumably intended to support the STPs [Sustainability and Transformation Plans] that are currently active throughout the NHS.
Interestingly, the government announced that they are increasing the duty on so called ‘white ciders’ due to their low cost and high alcohol content, perhaps this will, indirectly over time have a positive effect on the NHS spend on treating alcohol related diseases such a liver cirrhosis.
We have received confirmation from HMRC that the threatened retrospective repayments for pre April 2014 Heading 69 adjustments have been withdrawn. You will recall that Customs were considering re-visiting ‘Typing, secretarial, telephonist & clerical services’ where Trusts had (mistakenly) used this heading to reclaim the VAT on basic admin & clerical staff.