Review of Housing Association Forum 2020
Current circumstances prevented our annual get -togethers for the housing association sector in the usual round table format so this year we harnessed the power of technology to hold a virtual event on 2nd June 2020. Over 40 delegates attended. The agenda was a round up of current and recent VAT developments of interest to the sector all aimed to ensure the sector remains up to speed with the fast changing VAT world.
We had a packed agenda as you can imagined starting with the relevant Covid 19 indirect tax measures which Liz ran through. Running a poll on the day we identified that only a minority of housing associations that attended (13%) had taken advantage of the opportunity to defer VAT payments. There has been subsequent announcements from HMRC that tax payers who had wished to take advantage of the deferral could still approach HMRC before the 30th June if they had not cancelled their Direct Debits in time. Making Tax Digital was also discussed, which, although deferred until April 2021, will still be a major consideration for housing associations.
Julie Rawlinson-Smith and Andrea Brindley, who support our housing associations clients across the UK, outlined the operation of the proposed domestic reverse charge on construction services which at the time of the event was expected to be introduced on 1 October 2020. A few days after the session, HMRC announced that implementation of this would be deferred for the second time until 1 March 2021 so this gives everyone further time to prepare for some major changes to VAT accounting in the construction sector. It just goes to show what a fast moving VAT world we are in at the moment. With the speed of changes in the complicated area do make sure you’ve registered to get our VAT newsbyte’s into your inbox. With largely everyone working from home at the moment it’s really important not to miss out on the news – you can register on our website.
Our topical VAT round up covered a diverse range of subjects from occupational health services to energy saving measures and also provided some timely reminders about correct completion of partial exemption and capital goods scheme adjustments. There are clearly some potential VAT savings options out there for the housing association sector as well as potential pitfalls to avoid so there’s topical round ups are invaluable.
This year we had an additional tax topic to inform delegates about as Mike Trotman has added his Environmental Tax skills to our support offering at Centurion. Mike outlined important compliance issues with aggregates levy and landfill tax where housing associations need to be aware – triggers are any large scale site development plans where materials generated from the site may be reused within the infrastructure – roads or bunds for example. The landfill tax is more of a risk to developers as it bring a shared liability should materials from a site be found to be “dumped” illegally elsewhere. Key message from Mike was for development teams to understand where these Environmental tax could create a hidden cost in a project and to see what reliefs could apply.
Overall the VAT Forum was well received by delegates and the Centurion team appreciated the many positive messages received both during and after the event. A sign of the times being the number of requests received for Liz’s banana bread recipe!
We look forward to meeting up in person with clients when its safe to do so but in the meantime, webinars are proving to be an effective mechanism for training sessions and technical discussions/meetings. If you would like to discuss how we can help with training needs or to discuss any of the topics discussed at the forum, please contact your usual contact at Centurion or firstname.lastname@example.org If you missed the forum then do get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide an overview of the areas that came up.
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