NEW VAT RULES FOR BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION SERVICES FROM 1ST MARCH
You may or may not be aware but from 1ST March 2021, HMRC are changing the way in which businesses
operating within the construction sector account for VAT in respect of services provided under the
Construction Industry Scheme. They are the new Reverse Charge Rules.
These changes only affect work you undertake for other contractors who are not the final end user, so
any work you do for domestic customers (or non VAT-registered contractors) will not be affected by these
changes and you will charge VAT in the normal way.
Nothing will change up to 28th February, 2021, but from 1st March, 2021, the new rules come into effect
for any business that is:
1. Registered under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
2. VAT registered
The rules apply to both Sales invoices (those sent to your clients) and Purchase Invoices (those received
from your supply chain).
From 1st March, 2021, if you raise a sales invoice to another VAT and CIS registered business and the
supply is standard or reduced rated, then you will not add VAT to your invoice and you will need to state
on the invoice that ‘VAT is not being charged under the Reverse Charge rules’ and also clearly state the
amount of VAT due under the domestic reverse charge.
The only exception will be if the business to whom you are raising the invoice has confirmed to you that
they are the final user of the service, building or structure. In which case, VAT should be charged in the
Example: You are employed as a subcontractor to carry out some works by a main contractor valued
at £1,000.00 + VAT.
1. You will invoice for £1,000 but not add the £200 VAT to the amount due:
a. Nett Amount: £1,000.00
VAT Amount: £ 0.00
Total Due: £1,000.00
b. You will state on the invoice ‘VAT is not being charged under the Reverse Charge rules’
c. You will also state the amount of VAT due under the domestic reverse charge is
2. You will then be paid £1,000.00
3. The main contractor’s VAT return will show £1,000 plus £200 VAT as both an input and an
output VAT (which, in effect, cancel each other out)
4. Because you have not been paid £200 VAT, you will not owe HMRC £200 VAT
For clarification, if you do some work for end consumers like domestic customers, or for customers who
are not VAT registered or not CIS registered, you will bill them the VAT as you currently do. The new rules
only affect supplies you make to firms who are not the final user of the building or structure and who
are VAT registered. It is therefore sensible from now on to keep a record of your customers’ VAT
numbers and ask them whether they include the payments they make to you on a CIS return (i.e. the
work is within the CIS scheme and they are CIS registered).
Please be aware that if invoices are raised incorrectly then expect them to be returned to you so they are
resubmitted in the right format which may cause a delay in payment being made.
If you receive an invoice under Reverse Charge rules, make sure it is correct and follows the guidelines
above. If it does not then it needs to be returned and a replacement issued.
You also have to make sure that the VAT is correctly accounted for on your VAT return.
The change is ahead – you must prepare!
If you use computerised software for your accounting you need to ensure that it has been updated and
correctly configured to comply with the Reverse Charge rules. Your sales invoices, when Reverse Charge
rules apply, should not include VAT but clearly state the amount together with the statement ‘VAT is not
being charged under the Reverse Charge rules’
You will also need to account for the VAT correctly on any purchase invoices you receive. Most software
offers a tax code option of Reverse Charge 20% or 20% RC which should then correctly account for the
input and output VAT on your VAT return.
You may also need to prepare for any cash flow implications. If you carry out a lot of subcontractor works
then you may find yourself in a position where you are paying out VAT on the materials you are
purchasing but not charging your clients and having to wait until you do your VAT return to claim the VAT
back. We strongly suggest that you speak to your accountant about this as there may be alternative
options such as making monthly VAT returns.