The Practical Lawyer

Tax – VAT

Commercial buildings – new

The new edition of the Conveyancing Handbook has a useful checklist of the main points to consider when acting for the buyer on a freehold purchase of a new commercial building. In particular, if the contract requires the buyer to pay VAT, he will want to be certain that VAT is chargeable (and have evidence to establish whether or not there is a mandatory charge to VAT on a subsequent sale).

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Roof space – zero-rated

It has been held that the grant of lease following conversion of the empty roof space of a block of flats into a new self-contained flat will be zero-rated, because the roof space is a ‘non-residential’ part of the building.

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Housebuilder – letting stock

As the residential property market slows, it is becoming increasingly common for property developers to let out their newly completed properties whilst waiting for a recovery in property prices. Whilst this may be superficially attractive (because of the cashflow benefits), there are real VAT risks.

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Land – option to tax

A reminder of how the new VAT option to tax regime (introduced in June) works. It is similar to the old ‘election to waive exemption’ regime but there are differences. Key points:

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Solicitors – disbursements

The Law Society has issued an updated practice note covering VAT on disbursements.

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Retention of title – repossessions

Retention of title clauses will typically allow a seller to reclaim goods if the buyer fails to pay for them.

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