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VAT: What You Can Claim Back When a Self Build is Complete

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 28 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Self Build Vat Materials Claim Customs

A self-builder is able to claim back the VAT on building costs at the end of the build. This is a one off claim and can only be applied if you intend to live in the house and it is to be your main abode.


The builder needs to keep meticulous records of all purchases throughout the length of the building process. A spreadsheet on a computer is ideal for this process. Take information from each receipt or invoice noting the name of the company you purchased materials from, the date, the items purchased and the total of VAT that was charged. The invoice or receipt must be a proper invoice and not a copy. The seller’s name and VAT registration number must also be shown clearly.

When to Claim

You can make only one claim and it must be made within three months of the end of the build. The end of the build is signified by the date the build is ‘signed off’ by the building inspector. If you claim before the end of the build you will be unable to claim for any further materials used on the self build project.

What can be Claimed?

You are able to claim back the VAT on every item or material used in the build of the structure of the house. This includes, bricks, sand, cement and fenestration as well as any charges made by tradesmen that attract the tax. Bathroom fixtures, electrical cabling and sockets are all part of the claim, In fact everything that is usually incorporated in a house. Air conditioning, central heating, roof tiles, decorating materials, doors, built in dust extractors, fencing, house alarms and fitted kitchens that have attracted VAT are also part of the claim.

What Items Cannot be Claimed?

Electrical appliances such as ovens, fridges, freezers and hobs are a few of the many stand alone appliances that VAT cannot be claimed back on. If an aga or stove is used to heat water or the home it then becomes possible for the VAT to be claimed.


If landscaping is shown on the plans of the house and have been passed by the planning department then the VAT can be claimed. Even turf, trees and shrubs then become applicable. Stand alone garden furniture such as tables and chairs cannot be claimed for.


Every fitting in a bathroom that attracts VAT can be added to the list along with light fittings and fitted cupboards.

Eco Friendly

If you plan to fit solar panels to produce energy along with wind generators to your roof they can all be added to the claim.


Home furnishings and furniture cannot be claimed for although flooring (apart from carpet) can. Curtain poles and fittings are part of the claim. If in doubt consider if the item can be removed from the home. If it can, then chances are it cannot be part of the claim.


Once every receipt and invoice has been collected and the VAT calculations checked, then a claim form from Customs and Excise needs to be obtained. This can now be downloaded from their website and printed off. Pack all the receipts with the claim form and dispatch to the relevant department. It will take approximately six weeks for the claim to be checked and passed before your one off payment is dispatched to your bank account.

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