VAT to be charged on Council searches

Posted: 11/01/2016

Councils are required to start charging VAT for the Con29 element of Council produced searches. Some councils have pledged to absorb the 20% charge while others plan to add an additional charge or reconsider their prices completely.

HMRC’s reasoning is that when a Local Authority supplies information in response to an enquiry, the Local Authority enters a “contractual relationship” with the person who has enquired in the same way a personal search company does.

From a consumer’s perspective it will be “somewhat a postcode lottery” in respect of whether or not property buyers will be paying more. However, Regulated Local Searches will remain the same price.

The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) has welcomed these changes. The chairman of CoPSO, James Sherwood- Rogers said “CoPSO has been lobbying for many years that VAT should be added to Locals Authority Con29s. We welcome the resolution to this long outstanding issue so that a more level playing field will now exist as between regulated personal search companies and local authorities”. 

Aislinn Devlin, Pali Ltd

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