Can your non-business organisation claim back VAT?

August 30, 2023
Neeraj Nagarkatti

Associate Operating Partner

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In some instances, you can! You might be eligible to get a refund on the VAT you’ve paid through a government scheme. In this blog, we’ll provide you with the information you need to know about reclaiming your VAT and answer some common questions.

Who can claim?

The VAT refund scheme is open to various organisations, including:

– Local authorities or similar bodies
– Academy schools or multi-academy trusts (MAT)
– Charities involved in palliative care, air ambulance, medical, or search and rescue services
– Non-departmental bodies or similar entities not registered for VAT

What are the time limits for claiming?

There are specific time limits for submitting your claim:

If you’re a local authority, you have up to 3 years from the end of the month of supply to make your claim. For charities, academy schools, or multi-academy trusts, you have up to 4 years from the end of the month of supply to submit your claim.

How does the process work?

To initiate your VAT refund claim, you’ll need to fill out a form called VAT126. Here’s the information you’ll need to gather:

– Unique Reference Number (provided by HMRC if you’ve claimed before)
– Postcode of your registered organisation
– Start and end dates for your VAT claim
– Recent bank statement (dated within 3 months) to confirm any changes in address or bank account details

If you’re claiming for up to 5 invoices, you’ll have to manually enter the following details for each invoice:

– Invoice date
– Supplier’s VAT registration number
– VAT amount
– Name of your organisation as the recipient of the goods or services
– Brief description of the goods or supplies

For claims with more than 5 invoices, you’ll need to upload a spreadsheet or document with all the necessary information.

How do you claim by post?

To claim by post, follow these steps:

1. Open the VAT 126 form online – remember, you can’t save it! Make sure you have all the required information.
2. Fill in the VAT 126 form.
3. Print the form and send it by post to HMRC.

How do you claim online?

If you’ve made a claim before, you can use the online service for convenience. Here’s what you need to do:

– Make sure you have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you don’t, you can set it up during the claim process.
– Access the online service and proceed with your VAT refund claim.

How can we help?

At gunnercooke, we can make the process easier by:

– Completing the necessary forms
– Identifying which invoices qualify for a refund
– Preparing your VAT refund applications
– Dealing with any HMRC queries on your behalf

If you’d like more information on how we can assist you, please contact us at

Neeraj Nagarkatti
Associate Operating Partner — Tax Accountant