Owners of listed buildings have until 1 October this year to complete approved alterations under favourable VAT conditions which give them a zero rating.

After this date, VAT will be charged at the standard rate in the same way as for repairs, points out John Rainsford, associate director, VAT at accountant Smith & Williamson.

Zero rating will also be removed from listed buildings which have been substantially reconstructed – where 60% of reconstruction was through approved alterations. However, where a building has been rebuilt from a shell, the relief still applies. Where binding contracts were in place before budget day, 21 March 2012, there are transitional rules.