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Here’s a thought for the tax folk

Exports don’t pay VAT.

Educating a foreigner is an export – at least it is in economics.

So, would school fees charged to foreigners carry VAT or not?

Bonus question. If school fees should pay VAT why not university fees?

11 thoughts on “Here’s a thought for the tax folk”

  1. The general VAT for B2C supplies of services is that the place of supply is where the supplier belongs, irrespective of the location of their customer. There are exceptions but ‘education’ isn’t one of them (probably at the moment because educational services are exempt).

    “If school fees should pay VAT why not university fees?”

    Because the fat potato says so. The loss of exemption would only apply to ‘schools’ according to him, and be easy to define. It’s been pointed out that private tutors and youth clubs might proliferate. What’s the definition of a ‘school’? Such technicalities are not important.

  2. “Such technicalities are not important.”

    On the contrary they are very important to accountants and lawyers, as they provide a constant supply of fees for years to come…….

  3. I suppose the foreign students would have to pay VAT and then reclaim it when they leave the country.
    The UK has made it very difficult to get the VAT back from shopping trips. High end retailers are screaming blue murder.
    Would it be as hard for students? Probably, because a significant proportion don’t in fact leave.

  4. In Japan there’s a Purchase Tax refund desk next to the airport check-in desk, you just save all your receipts and hand them over. Is it not the same in UK airports?

  5. Youth Soccer academies and Gymnastics Clubs?
    Turnover will be high enough to pay VAT and they are definitely private paid for education.
    Mind you so are Early Learning institutions and After School / Wrap Around Clubs, Cubs Scouts and Guides…
    Oh bugger, there are either going to be loopholes so big you could drive an Army Training Corps tank through them or a lot of Karate Clubs facing the chop.

  6. Random stray thought:

    What have Rolls Royce done to piss off the British government?

    They should have been all over their modular nuclear reactors (preferably 10 years ago). At the very least, bung them a bit of cash to try to *look* like you’re trying to avoid South African style BAMEouts coming to Britain. It’d be cheaper than a teeny, tiny, toatie wee fraction of HS2, and allow Rishi to tour the shiny new eco-factories, gladhanding the shiny new British workers, in his shiny new helmet. Grinning and thumbs upping and saying “Naff Off, Putin!” on the front page of The Sun. Y’know, there’s an election on the horizon.

    But, nah… Looks like the next great British atomic hope is being quietly ignored to death.

    Weird. I don’t remember anybody passing the We Must Be Poor And Miserable In A Dystopian Shithole Act, but the people we pay to represent us disagree.

  7. Weird, isn’t it Steve.
    UK Innovation has a budget of 25 billion, and plan to spaff it on capturing moonbeams and burying gas underground.
    It’s almost like we’re still in the EU and only France is allowed to bank roll nukes.

    Meanwhile Rosebank has been given the go ahead. Reserves of 400 million barrels.
    Compare forties – 3 billion already produced and 20 years to go. N Sea extraction to date about 46 billion.
    Rosebank is comparatively small. Yet the nutters will probably go to court on the grounds that it’s not compatible with net zero commitments, and they will probably win.

    I might vote if there was a party promising to abolish a lot of acts. Human rights, Equality, Online, Climate change, for a start.

  8. I just read the Guardian to find out what the hell Rosebank was.

    I must admit that the way Caroline Lucas describes Sunak, I’d vote for him like a shot. You know, it’d never occurred to me that the Greens were in the pay of the Tories before.

  9. Swannypol;

    “Youth Soccer academies and Gymnastics Clubs?
    Turnover will be high enough to pay VAT and they are definitely private paid for education.”

    Sports clubs have a specific exemption. One of the others is where the aim is of a “political, religious, patriotic, philosophical, philanthropic or civic” nature, where you might go for “civic”. Good luck with that, it’s HMRC we’re talking about.

    The turnover limit is 85 large, so for a club with 100 members, the annual subs (or total income) would have to be 850 per. I don’t really see this as a significant issue, unless there’s a large amount of recurring input costs where it makes sense to reclaim it. I reckon that would be pretty rare.

  10. VAT is an end-user tax due in the jurisdiction where the good is consumed.

    Who is the consumer of education, is it the pupil or society generally?

    If it is society generally then they should pay the VAT.

    If it is the pupil then they should.

    Education an export?

    If education is an export, then somewhere it must be an import. As far as VAT is concerned, education exported from the UK to France, for example, would be subject to French VAT at the time of import. Who is going to pay it?

    Once Trump is back in the White House, he will introduce tariffs on imported education to protect American teaching jobs.

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