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.
Whilst there does not appear to have been an official announcement by them, HMRC have helpfully updated the guidance on COS Heading 14 Computer Services and COS Heading 71 Welfare Services on the online manual late last week. Whilst Heading 71 hasn’t provided much in the way of difficulties over the years, Heading 14 has certainly been an area of uncertainty for many.
HMRC have today released further clarification to be read in conjunction with the October 2015 ‘HMRC COS Guidance for government departments and NHS bodies (2nd tranche)’ document. There are not many surprises in this document, and below is a summary of the key points:
HFMA have released minutes from their September VAT Technical Sub-Committee meeting. Please find below a summary of the key points.
Contracted Out Services Guidance
The minutes confirmed that the latest HMRC guidance was released on 12 October 2015, and HMRC stated in the meeting that telephony (including VOIP) is not included within Heading 14: Computer Services.
As you may be aware – earlier this month HMRC released the final tranche of COS headings (though more guidance is expected to be released on Heading 52 at a later date). Unfortunately, it was not immediately explicit as to the period for which this guidance applies.