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Hi.There is a link to Section 8 of VAT Notice 708 here, though I know you have read it, for ease of reference.As far as timing is concerned, the basic rule is that the building must not have been lived in during the two years before renovation work begins (paragraph 8.1). However, if the property is already occupied before the work starts, so long as the conditions in paragraph 8.3.4 are met (as well as all the other conditions), then reduced VAT rating can be applied.Given that you have owned the property for five years, if you move in before the work commences, you won't qualify for reduced rate VAT under paragraph 8.3.4 as you won't meet condition 4. You are, therefore, relying on paragraph 8.1 in that you cannot be occupying it before the work begins and it must have been unoccupied for at least two years before the work begins.I hope this helps but let me know if you have any further questions.
So I can definitely claim the reduced rate under 8.1 as there is definitely no way I will be occupying the property before work commences?