Centurion has strong links with the education sector in the UK as we began as a subsidiary of the University of Wales College, Newport in 1998 to deliver high quality VAT advice to the education sector as an alternative to the Big Four teams.

Our Engagement with the Education Sector

As Centurion has grown so has our sphere of engagement with education providers, so that it now encompasses not just universities but also colleges of further education and commercial providers.

Karen Phillips & David Francis Coleg y Cymoedd
Karen Phillips & David Francis explain how Centurion VAT have helped Coleg y Cymoedd
Rob Brelsford-Smith Director of Finance
Rob Brelsford-Smith explains how Centurion VAT have helped Swansea University

Sector VAT issues

There is a growing range of diversity of income generating activities particularly in the further education sector. Attracting international students is a theme across many education providers as is delivering a positive student experience which all bring complex VAT issues. Collaboration with parties to raise educational outcomes, academies, further integration of providers are all issues on the horizon for the sector.

How Centurion can help

Our engagement with the education sector is wide ranging from advising on land and property transactions and development plans through to compliance reviews, the devising of partial exemption methodologies and the delivery of sector specific VAT Training events.

For many years Centurion has supported education clients through our helpline and VAT Management Programmes. On special projects whether mergers or major campus redevelopments we are on hand to ensure VAT issues are recognised early in the discussion and planned for accordingly.

The strength and quality of our VAT support to this sector demonstrates why Centurion won the Taxation Best VAT Team in the UK in 2013 beating both Deloitte and KPMG and again being in the top 3 VAT teams in the UK in 2015.

Meet the Team

Within Centurion we have four VAT specialists directly supporting our Education clients

Louise Gray
Louise Gray


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Andrea Brindley
Andrea Brindley


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Liz Maher
Liz Maher


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Julie Rawlinson-Smith
Julie Rawlinson-Smith

Associate Director

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Within Centurion our core Education team is led by Louise Gray supported by Liz Maher. In addition Julie Rawlinson-Smith and Andrea Brindley have direct experience of supporting the UK commercial training sector as well as education and training provision within a wide range of charitable bodies.

Louise covers all aspects of VAT support required by our education clients and with her career in VAT starting in 1987, has a wealth of practical VAT experience to support the education sector. Centurion began in 1998 as a subsidiary of the University of Wales College Newport delivering its internal VAT management resource which brings a unique perspective to our understanding of VAT in education.


Our Education Clients

Case study

Saving a 6 Figure VAT cost

Often as a property purchase reaches the point of contract signing the question of VAT treatment will arise and Centurion will get the call. This recent example was no different. As it became clear that the vendor had opted to tax the planned site for acquisition the university was faced with the risk of incurring a VAT cost which had not been budgeted for and was unlikely to be recovered due to the planned use. With a detailed review of the planned site for acquisition and research into the current and future use and intentions for the site Centurion was able to identify that the acquisition could in fact meet the criteria to be regarded as a transfer of a going concern for VAT purposes rather than a building acquisition. With prompt action therefore a 6 figure VAT cost was removed from the transaction enabling completion to progress smoothly.

Partial Exemption Methods – why they need close attention?

Methodologies that allocate input tax to the taxable business activities undertaken by universities and colleges are an important part of the projects Centurion undertakes. FE Colleges have further complexities due to the high levels of non business activities undertaken in the education of non fee paying students under the age of 19.

With the increasing diversification of income generation across the education sector our skill in reviewing sector based methodologies can improve VAT recovery percentages - where even a small percentage increase has brought additional recovery in the tens of thousands for individual clients.

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