(scotland) Limited
  • 0141 636 9353
  • 0141 636 9490
  • 0141 636 9492


Invaluable VAT advice before and after the merger of three colleges

Gary provided us with invaluable VAT advice and guidance both prior to and after the College merger in August 2103.  The advice was in connection to a number of areas where the College had to seek written agreement with HMRC due to the complexities of the VAT accounting in two of the three merging colleges. 

Leading up to the merger, two of the colleges had implemented a Lennartz VAT arrangement which had a number of years to run post-merger.  Following a number of meetings and in-depth correspondence with the HMRC Public Sector Policy Unit, Gary agreed a simplified method for the merged College to repay the remaining periods of the Lennartz VAT calculation.  

As part of these discussions an alternative calculation methodology on a ‘college-wide’ basis and not a ‘building-by-building’ basis was sought for non-business income in connection with the fuel and power supplies.  After outlining the specific circumstances prevailing in the merged College, firstly at a meeting and then via follow-up correspondence, HMRC agreed to the merged college’s alternative methodology. 

At the time of the merger and for a period thereafter Gary has assisted our finance staff to ensure all VAT returns were submitted accurately and on time and thus ensuring the College incurred no penalty surcharge for submission of late returns. The merger period was an exceptionally frantic time and having the assistance of Gary was an invaluable resource, allowing the finance staff to concentrate on other operational areas. 

After the merger, the College financial year end was changed from July to March.  This was as a result of a review by the Office for National Statistics that concluded Colleges of Further Education will be included within the General Government Sector.  The repayment of Lennartz amounts to HMRC agreed at the time of the merger had to be revisited and amended payment dates required to be agreed with HMRC.  Not long after agreeing these new dates and new VAT staggers on our behalf, Gary had to correspond with HMRC again as our year end was further amended from March back to the original year end of July.   Gary ensured this was carried out with the minimum of fuss and input from our finance staff. 

Gary undertakes an annual VAT review to ensure the College is complying with current VAT regulations.  This ensures VAT is accounted for when it should be and that the College reclaims only the VAT that it is entitled to.  Gary’s annual review also ensure ensures the College is not charged VAT in error on expenditure such as advertising and printing costs.  During one of these reviews, Gary prepared and submitted a repayment claim to HMRC on behalf of the College in relation to the overpayment of VAT in the training restaurants.  This may result in a repayment of VAT being received by the College.  The repayment is based on a case that is currently at the Court of Appeal as HMRC, having lost at both the First and Upper Tier Tribunals, is looking for the decision to be overturned in their favour. 

In summary, we find Gary’s work on our behalf invaluable.  He clearly understands the VAT complexities of business/non-business, partial exemption and the operating environment in which the College finds itself.  His proactive assistance both prior to and after the merger allowed the College to obtain simplified agreements with HMRC that allow the College to prepare and submit its quarterly VAT returns in an accurate, efficient and timely manner.  We would have no hesitation in recommending Gary.   

Alan Ritchie, Director of Finance and Estates, West College Scotland


VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd has provided valuable assistance during 2 mergers and ensured robust VAT accounting

The provision of education and other services by the College causes our VAT position to be complicated. We receive grants from the Scottish Funding Council, Fees from students and business and European Funding. The College therefore has a complex VAT structure as it has both Business and Non-Business Income and specifically in connection with the Business Income this can be Exempt or Taxable.

VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd have provided VAT advice to the College since 2004. During this period they have:

  • Reviewed the individual Colleges VAT processes prior to the mergers in 2006 & 2010 and provided invaluable VAT advice and guidance.
  • Provided advice that greatly assisted the discussions and negotiations with HMRC linked to the College mergers.
  • Reviewed our income in detail and identified the Business or non-Business income sources, confirming which Business income was Taxable or Exempt.
  • Prepared and submitted correspondence with HMRC and suppliers.
  • Provided training for College staff.

With the assistance of VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd we are now confident our VAT planning and accounting system is robust. VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd also provided the College with proactive advice and guidance on new or amended VAT legislation to ensure continued compliance or opportunities to reduce our VAT costs.

I would have no hesitation in recommending VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd as they has provided us with invaluable support and advice over the last 10 years.

Stuart Thompson, Executive Director Finance, City of Glasgow College


Regular, concise and timely VAT advice supplied to our University 

We have utilised VAT Services (Scotland) Ltd to provide us with VAT advice on regular basis since 2004 (when we were originally University of Paisley).

The advice received has been wide-ranging over this 10-year period, including the following:

  • Identifying and liaising with suppliers to obtain VAT savings for the university as a result of the Disability Discrimination Act;
  • Renovation of student residences;
  • Advising on the reverse charge implications of receiving fees from foreign agents introducing students to the university;
  • Identifying and recovering overpaid VAT on waste services received from the local council;
  • Providing advice on HMRC’s Cost Sharing Exemption; and
  • Review of proposed joint venture arrangements. 

The VAT regulations for an educational establishment such as ours, including the complex issues regarding business/non-business and partial exemption, result in us having to consult with Gary on a regular basis.  We find his concise and timely advice invaluable to ensure we fully comprehend the VAT implications of many and varied income and expenditure streams within our university.  Gary has an in-depth knowledge of the education sector which allows him to understand clearly the VAT issues that occur for us from time to time.

Andrew Heron, Assistant Director of Finance, University of West of Scotland