Farmers who let out land or property as a wedding venue will be liable for VAT if they provide any service over and above use of the venue.
David McGeachy, partner and VAT specialist for accountancy firm Saffery Champness, has warned that, while the passive letting of land and property is exempt from VAT, HMRC is hardening its approach to other services.
“HMRC’s view now appears to be that if any additional elements are present then the concept of ‘passive’ letting is immediately void,” he said. “If you let rooms or land for weddings and provide any additional services, everything becomes VAT-able.”
See also: The farmers who make weddings work
Additional services could include the personal involvement of the property’s owner, the opportunity and permission for photography, car parking, advertising any supplementary services (even if catering, for example, is provided by someone else), cleaning and preparation of rooms, use of ancillary rooms and toilets.
Where additional services are provided, the VAT becomes due not just on those services, but on the entire amount – including the charge for the property let, said Mr McGeachy.