Education and vocational training – VAT exemption

‘Education’ is defined by HMRC as a course, class or lesson of instruction or study in any subject, regardless of when and where it takes place. It includes lectures, educational seminars, conferences and symposia, recreational and sporting courses, and distance teaching and associated materials. It does not include admission to plays, concerts, sports meetings and exhibitions.

The exemption applies to eligible bodies. HMRC states that where an organisation is a charity that cannot and does not distribute any profit it makes – and any profit that might arise from its supplies of education, research or vocational training is used solely for the continuation or improvement of such supplies – it is likely to be an eligible body.

‘Vocational training’ covers training, retraining and work experience for paid and voluntary employment. It includes lectures, workshops and seminars but not counselling, business advice and consultancy. Vocational training supplied by an eligible body is exempt from VAT. Otherwise, in order for the exemption to apply, the training must be ultimately funded by a government body

For further information please refer to HMRC VAT Notice 701/30: education and vocational training

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