The HMRC VAT Refund Scheme – a brief explanation for Self Builders

VAT reclaim is an important stage for any self builders and with thousands of pounds available for reclaim it’s a stage you want to get right. Kathy Tisdale of SelfBuild VAT reclaims explains all in her blog!

Many of us (including myself) at some stage dream of building our own home and while it's not possible for everyone - mainly financial restraints, designing, planning  and building your own home can be very satisfying.

Despite the stress (and there is lots of that!) some of our clients have learnt so much from their first build have gone on to build a second and even in a couple of cases -a third home.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) administers the ‘Self Build’ VAT scheme. The Scheme allows DIY builders and converters to reclaim the VAT element of the purchase price of the materials.  The scheme puts  them in a similar position to  say a developer who is selling a newly built zero rated property. You can only make a claim on your main residence otherwise you would be considered to be a developer as the build would be for commercial gain and therefore subject to other taxes- if this is you we would refer you to an accountant instead.

Pic Monkey Collage

Self building could be an affordable way for you to get your ideal home and while most of our Clients have such vision and set about building their dream homes they either do not like paperwork or are afraid of getting the claim wrong.  By employing a Self Build VAT specialist allows you the time to concentrate on your build.

As a Self Builder you will be charged VAT at the standard rate on  the purchase of any materials that you make but this is largely recoverable (so you need to factor this into your costing)

The standard VAT content of your build at present is 20% (correct as of January 2016) and this can be a significant sum of money running into thousands of pounds so making a claim is defiantly worth doing.

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is “Can we claim back the VAT as we go during the build?” 

The simplest answer is No.  You only get one chance to make a claim and this is claimed at the end of the build. Note that the  claim must be submitted to HMRC within three months of completion.

When making any claim you must ensure that it is presented in line with the HMRC rules so therefore it must be produced meticulously.

Self Build claims can be a mixture of self purchased materials or contractor supplies and so you need to ensure you are aware of the VAT rate being charged and that this is correct. Any VAT paid in error and included in your claim will be rejected and your claim reduced.



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A specialist in Self Build reclaims will know what you can and cannot claim but the following will give you a guide:

Examples of what you can claim:

Examples of what you cannot claim:

Fitted Kitchen Units


Wood Flooring


Solar Panels

Architect fees

Burglar Alarms

Structural Engineers fees


Plant Hire


White goods



The lists are not endless but guidance on what can be claimed is set out in HMRC document VAT 431 NB.

What information is needed for my claim?

You will need to supply:

  • The planning permission notice from the local Council who granted the permission
  • A full set of plans
  • The Completion Certificate or other similar form of completion
  • All invoices relating to the claim

Employing a consultant will make your life easier and ensure that because they will be conversant with the rules and regulations, and knowing the procedure will make sure that you have not forgotten any items and ensure that you receive the maximum reclaim allowable.

A few tips…

  • Firstly ensure that your project is eligible
  • Check that you are charged the correct rate of VAT by each supplier or contractor
  • Make sure you obtain a valid invoice for each purchase and keep all of your invoices together
  • Engaging a competent specialist like Self Build VAT Reclaims ensures that your reclaim is presented in the correct form and that you receive the maximum VAT claimable

If you’d like further information on VAT reclaims please contact Kathy Tisdale (SelfBuild VAT reclaims)   E-mail here or visit the website 


Kathy Tisdale

1 Halvosso Vean, Longdowns. Cornwall, TR10 9DN
Tel: 07812 659 272

Find us on: Facebook/Selfbuildvatreclaims