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What is VAT 126 Claim Form?

Updated: Apr 15

The VAT 126 claim form is a vital document in the UK, allowing specific organisations to reclaim VAT for non-business activities. This article delves into the details of the VAT 126 claim form, its eligibility criteria, the process of making a claim, and recent updates to the guidance.

What is VAT 126 Claim Form

Who Can Claim

Eligible Organisations

The VAT 126 claim form can be used by:

  • Local authorities or similar bodies

  • Academy schools or multi-academy trusts (MAT)

  • Charities in palliative care, air ambulance, medical or search and rescue

  • Non-departmental bodies or similar bodies not registered for VAT

Time Frame for Claims

Claims must be submitted within four years after the end of the month in which the supply was received. However, for local authorities, the time frame is three years.

What You Need to Make a Claim

Required Information

To make a claim, organisations need:

  • Unique Reference Number (sent by HMRC)

  • Registered organisation postcode

  • Start and end dates for the VAT claim

  • Bank statement dated within the last three months

  • Invoice details including date, supplier's VAT registration, VAT amount, name of the organisation receiving goods or services, and a brief description of goods or supplies

Claim Amount and Duration

Claims must be for a period of at least one calendar month and must end on the last day of a calendar month. If the claim is for less than £100, it must cover a period of at least 12 months.

How to Make a Claim

Online Service

For those who have claimed before, the online service can be used, requiring a Government Gateway user ID and password.

By Post

First-time claimants or those unable to claim online can use the print and post form. The form must be completed in one sitting as it cannot be saved and subsequently amended.

Special Considerations for Unregistered Academies

Unregistered academies reclaim VAT using Form VAT126, available only in paper format. Detailed guidance is provided for what needs to be included in the form.

Recent Updates

HMRC has issued updated VAT126 guidance, reflecting changes in the process and requirements. Continuous updates ensure that the process aligns with current regulations and practices.

Step By Step Process of Making the VAT Claim through Vat 126 Claim Form

The VAT 126 claim form is a specific procedure in the UK that allows certain organisations to reclaim VAT for non-business activities. This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you have all the necessary information to make a successful claim.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Who Can Claim

Before proceeding, ensure that your organisation falls into one of the eligible categories:

Local authorities or similar bodies

Academy schools or multi-academy trusts (MAT)

Charities in specific sectors

Non-departmental bodies not registered for VAT

Step 2: Gather the Required Information

Documents and Details

Prepare the following information:

Unique Reference Number (if you've claimed before)

Registered organisation postcode

Start and end dates for the VAT claim

Bank statement (dated within the last three months)

Invoice details for each claim

Step 3: Choose the Claim Method

Online Service

If you've claimed before, you can use the online service. You'll need a Government Gateway user ID and password.

By Post

For first-time claimants or those unable to claim online, the print and post form is available.

Step 4: Complete the Form

Online Submission

Fill in Details: Enter all required information, including invoice details.

Review: Ensure all information is accurate.

Submit: Confirm and submit the form.

Postal Submission

You must:

  • Open the online form. You cannot save your progress, so you’ll need to get all your information together before you start.

  • Fill in Details: Complete the form with all necessary information. Note that you must complete it in one sitting as it cannot be saved.

  • Print: Print the completed form.

  • Post: Send it to HMRC using the postal address shown on the form.

Step 5: Special Considerations for Unregistered Academies

Paper Format Only

Unregistered academies must use the paper format, and detailed guidance is provided for what needs to be included in the form.

Step 6: Understand the Claim Duration and Amount

Claim Period

Your claim must cover at least one calendar month and end on the last day of a calendar month. If it's for less than £100, it must cover at least 12 months.

Step 7: Await Confirmation

Confirmation Process

Once submitted, HMRC will review the claim. Keep all original documents as HMRC may request them.

Step 8: Follow Up if Necessary

Contact HMRC

If you have any questions or need assistance, contact the HMRC helpline.

Making a VAT claim through the VAT 126 claim form in the UK is a systematic process that requires careful attention to detail. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering the necessary information, choosing the appropriate claim method, and following the outlined steps, organisations can successfully reclaim VAT for non-business activities.

Important Note

Always refer to the official HMRC guidelines and consult with a tax professional if needed, as regulations and procedures may change. The information provided here is based on the content available as of the date of this writing.

What Happens if My Claim is Rejected?

Understanding Rejection

Rejection of a VAT 126 claim can be a concerning and confusing experience. Understanding why a claim was rejected and the steps to take afterward is vital.

Common Reasons for Rejection

  • Incorrect Information: Mistakes in the provided details can lead to rejection.

  • Ineligibility: If the organisation does not meet the specific criteria, the claim may be denied.

  • Missing Documents: Lack of necessary supporting documents can result in rejection.

Notification of Rejection

HMRC will typically notify the organisation of the rejection, outlining the specific reasons. This communication is crucial as it provides the information needed to address the issues.

Steps to Take After Rejection

  1. Review the Rejection Notice: Understand the reasons for rejection by carefully reading the notice from HMRC.

  2. Gather Additional Information: If needed, collect additional documents or correct the information that led to the rejection.

  3. Contact HMRC: If the reasons are unclear, contact HMRC directly for clarification.

  4. Resubmit if Applicable: Depending on the reasons for rejection and HMRC's guidance, you may be able to resubmit the claim with corrected information.

Consider Professional Assistance

If the process becomes overwhelming, consider seeking professional tax assistance to navigate the resubmission or appeal process.

How Long Does It Take to Receive the Refund?

Timeline for Refunds

Receiving a refund after a successful VAT 126 claim is a process that involves several steps and can vary in duration.

Typical Processing Time

  • Review Period: HMRC will review the claim, which can take several weeks.

  • Approval: Once approved, the refund process is initiated.

  • Payment: The payment is typically made via direct bank transfer and can take additional time.

Factors Affecting the Timeline

  • Accuracy of Information: Providing correct and complete information can expedite the process.

  • Volume of Claims: During peak periods, processing may take longer.

  • Bank Processing Time: Individual bank processing times can affect when the funds are available.

Tracking the Refund

Some organisations may wish to track the status of their refund. Contacting HMRC directly or utilising online services (if available) can provide updates on the refund's status.

Planning for the Refund

Understanding that the refund process takes time can help organisations plan accordingly. Being aware of potential delays and having a clear understanding of the process can alleviate concerns.

The VAT 126 claim form in the UK is a valuable tool for eligible organisations, but it comes with complexities that require careful attention. Knowing what to do if a claim is rejected and understanding the timeline for receiving a refund are essential aspects of managing this process effectively.

Whether dealing with rejection or awaiting a refund, clear communication with HMRC and adherence to guidelines can lead to a successful outcome. When in doubt, professional tax advice can provide additional support and guidance.

The VAT 126 claim form serves as a crucial tool for eligible organisations in the UK to reclaim VAT for non-business activities. Understanding the eligibility criteria, required information, and the process of making a claim is essential for successful submission. Continuous updates to the guidance ensure that the information remains relevant and in line with legal requirements.

How Can a Tax Accountant Help You with VAT Claim in the UK

How Can a Tax Accountant Help You with VAT Claim in the UK?

Value Added Tax (VAT) is an integral part of the UK's taxation system, affecting businesses and organisations across various sectors. Navigating the complexities of VAT claims can be a daunting task, especially for those unfamiliar with tax laws and regulations. This is where the expertise of a tax accountant comes into play. This article explores how a tax accountant can assist you with VAT claims in the UK.

Understanding VAT: The Role of a Tax Accountant

Comprehensive Knowledge of VAT Regulations

Tax accountants are well-versed in the intricate details of VAT legislation. They understand the different VAT rates, exemptions, and specific requirements for various industries.

Tailored Advice

Every business is unique, and a tax accountant can provide personalised advice based on your particular circumstances, ensuring that you comply with all relevant regulations.

VAT Registration: Guiding You Through the Process

Assessing the Need for Registration

A tax accountant can help determine whether your business needs to register for VAT, considering factors like turnover and the nature of goods and services.

Handling the Registration Process

If registration is required, a tax accountant can manage the entire process, filling out the necessary forms and liaising with HMRC on your behalf.

VAT Returns: Ensuring Accuracy and Timeliness

Preparing VAT Returns

Tax accountants can prepare and file your VAT returns, ensuring that all calculations are accurate and that the submission meets the required deadlines.

Identifying Potential Savings

By understanding your business operations, a tax accountant can identify areas where you may be eligible for VAT reliefs or exemptions, potentially saving you money.

VAT Audits: Providing Support and Expertise

Preparing for Audits

Should HMRC decide to audit your VAT returns, a tax accountant can prepare all necessary documentation and ensure that everything is in order.

Representing Your Interests

During an audit, a tax accountant can act as your representative, answering questions and providing clarification to HMRC, ensuring that the process runs smoothly.

Specialised VAT Claims: Navigating Complex Scenarios

Handling Complex Claims

Some VAT claims, such as those involving international transactions or specific sectors like charities, can be particularly complex. A tax accountant has the expertise to handle these specialised claims.

Ensuring Compliance

With ever-changing tax laws, staying compliant can be challenging. A tax accountant will keep abreast of the latest changes, ensuring that your VAT claims always adhere to current regulations.

VAT Planning: Strategic Support for Your Business

Long-term VAT Strategy

A tax accountant can help you develop a long-term VAT strategy that aligns with your business goals, considering factors like growth plans and potential market changes.

Regular Reviews and Updates

By conducting regular reviews of your VAT processes, a tax accountant can identify areas for improvement and ensure that you continue to comply with all relevant laws.

VAT claims in the UK are a complex area that requires careful attention to detail and a deep understanding of tax laws. A tax accountant offers invaluable support in this regard, providing expertise in everything from registration and returns to audits and long-term planning.

Whether you're a small business owner navigating VAT for the first time or a large organisation dealing with complex international transactions, a tax accountant can provide tailored support that meets your specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Expertise: Tax accountants have comprehensive knowledge of VAT regulations.

  • Personalised Support: From registration to audits, a tax accountant provides tailored support based on your unique business needs.

  • Strategic Planning: Beyond compliance, a tax accountant can help you develop a long-term VAT strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Engaging the services of a tax accountant for VAT claims in the UK is not merely about compliance; it's about leveraging expertise to make informed decisions that support your business's growth and success. It's an investment that pays dividends in clarity, confidence, and potentially significant financial savings.


  1. What specific types of non-business activities are eligible for VAT reclaim using the VAT 126 form?

  • Non-business activities typically include those not aimed at making a profit like certain educational, charitable, or community services.

  1. How should organizations handle VAT reclaim for partially exempt activities?

  • Organizations should calculate the proportion of VAT that relates to non-business activities and only claim that portion using the VAT 126 form.

  1. Can organizations amend a VAT 126 claim after submission if errors are discovered?

  • Yes, amendments can usually be made by contacting HMRC and following their procedures for revising a claim.

  1. Are there any penalties for incorrect claims on a VAT 126 form?

  • Yes, penalties can apply for incorrect claims if they arise from carelessness or deliberate misreporting.

  1. What records should organizations keep to support their VAT 126 claims?

  • Organizations should keep invoices, receipts, and detailed records of transactions related to the claim for at least six years.

  1. Can international charities use the VAT 126 form to reclaim VAT on UK activities?

  • International charities can use the VAT 126 if they are registered in the UK and the claim relates to eligible non-business activities carried out in the UK.

  1. What happens if the VAT 126 claim is lost or delayed in the mail?

  • Organizations should keep copies of their submission and consider using tracked or electronic delivery methods to ensure delivery and provide proof of postage.

  1. How does the VAT 126 form accommodate claims for multiple non-business activities?

  • Organizations must detail each activity separately within the form to ensure clear allocation of VAT amounts to respective activities.

  1. What steps should be taken if HMRC requests further evidence or clarification after a claim is submitted?

  • Organizations should promptly respond with the requested documentation and clarification to avoid delays in processing the claim.

  1. Can VAT 126 claims be made for goods or services donated to the organization?

  • VAT on donated goods or services cannot typically be reclaimed unless the donation involves a payment where VAT was charged.

  1. How are corrections made to a VAT 126 form after it has been processed by HMRC?

  • Corrections require a formal request to HMRC, which may involve submitting a corrected form along with an explanation of the changes.

  1. Are there specific guidelines for claiming VAT back on large capital expenditures?

  • Large capital expenditures often have specific rules, especially if they're used for both business and non-business activities. Pro-rata calculations may be required.

  1. What are the consequences of late submission of a VAT 126 claim?

  • Late submissions may lead to delayed refunds or, in some cases, denial of the claim depending on HMRC's policies and the reasons for the delay.

  1. How frequently can VAT 126 claims be submitted within a fiscal year?

  • Claims must cover at least a calendar month but no more than one year, so submissions can be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the organization's preference.

  1. What is the role of digital tools in managing and submitting VAT 126 claims?

  • Digital tools can help streamline the claim process, maintain records, and ensure accuracy and compliance with VAT regulations.

  1. How should organizations handle VAT reclaim if they transition from non-VAT registered to VAT registered status?

  • Organizations should adjust their VAT 126 claims to only include the period they were not VAT registered, as post-registration VAT should be reclaimed through regular VAT returns.

  1. Can a VAT 126 claim be audited by HMRC?

  • Yes, HMRC can audit VAT 126 claims, and organizations should be prepared to provide all necessary documentation and evidence to support their claims.

  1. What specific training or expertise is recommended for staff handling VAT 126 claims?

  • Staff should be trained in VAT law, particularly the rules regarding non-business and charitable activities, and familiar with the VAT 126 claim process.

  1. How do changes in VAT rates or regulations affect ongoing or planned VAT 126 claims?

  • Organizations should monitor changes in VAT regulations to ensure their claims comply with the current laws and adjust their claims accordingly.

  1. What advice do tax professionals typically give to organizations making VAT 126 claims?

  • Tax professionals often advise keeping detailed and organized records, understanding eligible activities, and regularly reviewing VAT practices to ensure compliance and maximize VAT recovery.



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