vat on rent

VAT On Rent, How It Works & Do You Pay VAT On Commercial Rent

VAT is a term that frequently pops up everywhere, affecting various aspects of our financial lives. However, regarding property, VAT on rent might sometimes be complicated. Understanding the implications of VAT on rent is essential for financial planning under tax regulations.

These days, wherever you go, whatever you purchase, you always have to consider tax. Whether you are a landlord, tenant, or an ordinary citizen, understanding the basics of VAT on rent is very important. It would help you calculate your rental income more precisely. This article will provide you with valuable insight into VAT on rent.

Moreover, if you’re worrying about VAT calculation, use our VAT calculator tool to do your VAT calculation more accurately and precisely.

What Is Rental VAT?

Rent VAT is a value-added tax applied to property when renting it out for residential or commercial purposes. It is crucial to understand when your property is exempt from rental VAT and when it is not. To understand the question: Do you pay VAT on rent? You should first be able to appreciate the difference between rent VAT on residential and commercial properties.

Do You Pay VAT On Residential Rent?

Considering the usual circumstances, there is no VAT on residential property. Simply put, residential property is exempt from any taxes. The residential rental is usually a simple agreement between the Landlord and the tenant. A letting agency usually manages some of these.

Landlords can only register for VAT if they own any other business. This also means that landlords not registered with VAT can not claim VAT refunds on expenses related to the property. To recover the VAT on rental income, they must own another business registered to VAT. As a result, both Rental VAT and the other business would share the same registration.

As clearly stated in these cases, there is no VAT on rent; however, some complex situations make rental income VAT applicable:

Furnished Holiday Lettings:

There is a VAT on residential property if you rent it out as a furnished holiday letting. VAT becomes due on the income provided it exceeds the VAT registration threshold.

Additional Services:

The additional services the Landlord is providing may be subjected to VAT. These may include cleaning, catering services, or restaurant services

VAT On Restaurant Services:

VAT also applies to restaurant service but is somewhat compromised and reduced. However, on the other hand, alcohol, cold drinks, energy drinks, and other drinks, excluding fruit juices, are subjected to VAT at a standard rate. Current VAT rates can easily be checked through website of tax and customs.

Business Use:

Sometimes, people use part of their residential property for business purposes. You might also have to pay VAT on residential property in such situations. Hence, we advise hiring an expert or doing thorough research to avoid unnecessary outcomes.

Do You Pay VAT On Commercial Rent?

Generally speaking, VAT on commercial property is optional. Although you are exempt from this kind of VAT, you can opt for tax for several reasons. You should first skim through the merits and demerits of renting VAT.

If a landlord decides to tax, it will increase overall costs, which we might not like. However, it may be beneficial as the owner can now recover the VAT paid on several expenses related to their property, including the amount spent for refinishing. Let us go through all the merits and demerits in detail:


  • VAT Recovery:

    By opting for VAT, landlords can reclaim the VAT they have paid on various property-related expenses. This includes costs like refurbishing, which can result in significant savings. For example, Some businesses like healthcare and charity centers should opt for VAT.

  • Charging VAT:

    Landlords who choose to tax can charge VAT at a standard rate of 20 percent on their rental income. This can be advantageous for landlords who operate certain businesses like healthcare or charity centers, where VAT recovery may not be possible otherwise.


  • Increased Costs:

    Opting for VAT can lead to an increase in overall costs. This is because the VAT collected on rental income must be remitted to the tax authorities, and the administrative burden associated with VAT compliance can be cumbersome.

  • Property Sale Implications:

    For landlords considering selling their property in the future, not opting for VAT may be the wise option. Charging VAT on rent might make the property appear more expensive, potentially reducing its appeal to potential buyers.

Understanding TOGC and VAT

The Transfer of a Going Concern (TOGC) holds a unique status regarding Value Added Tax (VAT). TOGC transactions are typically exempt from VAT. This means that when a TOGC occurs, no VAT obligation is generally involved.

Simplicity in TOGC

This VAT exemption for TOGC simplifies the process for buyers and sellers. It eliminates the need to go through complex VAT calculations and payments. This makes the process easier and more reliable. Hence, the government of the UK has decided to keep TOGC and VAT exempt.

Also See: How To Calculate Import Duty In Ireland? A Detail Guide

How To Get Signed Up For VAT On Rent?

To decide whether to register for VAT on your rental income, it's a good idea to conduct thorough research or seek advice from a tax expert. Once you've made your decision, all you have to do is follow the following simple procedure:

  • Researching to make a decision:

    First, you have to decide whether registering for VAT on your rental income is the right choice or not. For this purpose, we recommend doing thorough research or consulting a tax expert, depending on the extent of your business. A little investment might prove more beneficial than you can imagine.

  • Submit a notice 742a to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs):

    When you finally decide that VAT registration is the right choice, you must submit a form known as "Notice 742a" to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs). This is necessary to inform HMRC of your intention to register for VAT.

    Also See: What is a VAT 652 Form and How to Correct VAT Errors?

  • Completing your registration:

    After you have submitted the above-mentioned notice 742a, after a few days, you will be notified that HMRC has completed your registration. As soon as you are registered, you should start charging VAT on your rental income and other transactions on which VAT applies.

rental vat

Unit To Rent

A unit to rent refers to an individual room or workspace within a larger apartment or property. These units are specially designed for rental purposes. These vary significantly in their dimensions. Some are small, some are large, some have a cozy infrastructure, whereas others are built just to suit commercial businesses. When talking about Rental units these are available in three basic types:

  • Residential Units:

    These include apartments, condominiums, houses, etc. Some details about each is given as follows:

    Apartments: The most common residential unit for rent is the apartment. You can rent an apartment ranging from very cozy studios to spacious multi-bedroom units within a complex.

    Condominiums: The condominiums are individually owned units within a larger complex or building. These are often available for rent, and the exciting part is that they offer a blend of multiple experiences, including apartment and house ownership experiences.

    Townhouses: Townhouses are multi-story units that share walls with neighboring units. They provide more privacy than apartments and often include accessories like private yards.

    Houses: Sometimes, individual houses are available for rent, providing tenants complete autonomy over their living space.

  • Commercial Units:

    As explained below, commercial units include office, retail, and industrial units:

    Office Spaces: Businessmen often seek office units to rent for their workplace. These spaces can range from small private offices to large office departments.

    Retail Spaces: These might be a good option if you are an entrepreneur looking to start a retail business.

    Industrial Units: If you are a businessman seeking a place to start a project on a mass scale, industrial units are the perfect option for you.

  • Storage Units:

    Storage units are rented worldwide for the sole purpose of storing personal belongings and business inventory. These vary significantly in their sizes. Sometimes, storage units come installed with a climate-control system, which is very useful, just like a working greenhouse in action to store ice and various other temperature-sensitive products.

Is Rent Vatable?

When you're in the process of renting a property, whether for residential or commercial purposes, a common question arises: Is there VAT on rent? The answer can be either yes or no, depending on your specific circumstances and preferences. If you plan to sell a property, opting for VAT registration might increase its overall price, making it less attractive to potential buyers.

However, if you're already running a VAT-registered business, it could be advantageous to register your rental property for VAT as well. Doing so allows you to reclaim the VAT paid on various expenses related to the property, such as refurbishment costs, which would otherwise be non-recoverable.

Some people often think: “Is rent VAT exempt?” So, as already clearly discussed above, rent, despite being commercial, is VAT-exempt unless you want to register your business with VAT to avail of some benefits that come along with it.

Can A Company Rent A House For An Employee In The UK?

Yes, most companies sign a ‘company let agreement.’ This enables them to rent a house for their employees in the United Kingdom. Of course, like any other agreement, it also has its demerits. For example, Unlike a traditional assured shorthold tenancy (AST), this agreement's rental rate is unregulated.

If a company rents a house for an employee, it can not challenge the rental rate, claiming it to be very high. But this is different from the AST. The AST is a direct agreement between the house owner and the tenant. When a landlord establishes an arrangement with a company to provide housing for its employees, it is commonly referred to as a non-assured tenancy agreement.

Why Provide Housing for Employees?

For several reasons, many companies provide housing facilities for their employees.

Attracting Highly Skilled Employees:

If a company provides housing packages to its employees, many skilled people will try to join the company to avail themselves of these opportunities. That is why many companies choose to provide housing.

Relocation Support:

Employees are often required to relocate to different cities. Finding a reasonable living place in the new location is challenging, which might affect the employee's quality of work. So, the company ensures a comfortable living arrangement from day one to provide a comfortable environment

Overseas And Other Short-term assignments:

Many multinational companies send their top employees to different countries and try to sign various global agreements. They also try to provide proper accommodation for their workers, ensuring their safety and health.

Companies and Employees should seek professional advice and consult with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure compliance with UK tax laws and regulations.

Seeking Professional Advice

VAT on rent is a decision that can affect the nature of your whole business. If you are a property dealer, VAT-registered property might draw less attention as it becomes costly and less appealing. On the other hand, registering for VAT enables you to reclaim it. We recommend you discuss this with the HMRC or hire a professional to understand whether VAT on rent is a good option.

The Final Word

VAT on rent involves a complex process, which sometimes gets complicated. You can decide whether your property gets registered for VAT or not. This makes the situation very tricky. You can opt to tax in both cases if you are willing to use your property for commercial or residential purposes.

Companies can rent houses for their employees in the UK, appealing to them to join their companies by showcasing a VIP package. Providing housing facilities can attract talent, aid relocations, and support short-term assignments. Remember, seeking professional advice and HMRC guidance is wise for tax matters. So, whether you're a tenant, landlord, or a company, understanding the basics of VAT on rent is essential for good planning.

This decision might benefit you, enabling you to reclaim VAT on renovations and other services. It is a matter which needs your utmost attention.


Does Rent Affect the VAT Threshold?

When calculating the VAT threshold for a business, it's important to note that many businesses usually do not consider any VAT-exempt income. The most common examples of such income include money earned from financial services, insurance sales, rental income from properties, or the sale of land and existing buildings.

Is there any VAT on residential property?

When dealing with residential property transactions, things are relatively straightforward. VAT is not applied when buying or selling residential properties. However, the buyer may sometimes be subjected to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Additionally, if you engage the services of an estate agent or another service provider during the property transaction, their fees may include VAT.

Rían Doyle

I'm a VAT professional with years of experience helping businesses with compliance and reporting. My goal is to simplify VAT calculation and provide valuable insights through my engaging writing style and clear explanations of complex concepts.