Are you a builder, plumber, renewables engineer, gas engineer or another installer of energy saving materials? This article will help you understand the basics of how the reduced rate of VAT could apply to you, your business and your customers!


Many people aren’t aware that if they are installing energy-saving materials, they may be reduced-rated for VAT purposes, even if the installation is grant funded!

HMRC defines three social policy conditions. If all three are met, then the whole supply of materials and installation of energy saving materials becomes subject to a reduced VAT rate of 5%. 

The three social policy conditions are:

Supply to a “qualifying person” i.e. a person who is aged 60 or over or received one of the following benefits:

  • Child tax credit
  • Council tax benefit
  • Disability living allowance
  • Disablement pension
  • Housing benefit
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income support
  • War disablement pension
  • Working tax credit

Supply to a “relevant housing association” as defined in legislation, which includes a registered landlord and registered housing association.

Finally, the accommodation is a building or part of a building used solely for a “relevant residential purpose” as defined in legislation. This includes children’s homes, care homes and accommodation for the armed forces.

If one of the above is met, then the VAT to be charged entirely will be at a reduced rate of 5%. But what happens if none of above conditions are met. The regulation still provides a reduced rate. In this case a 60% test needs to be applied by you to calculate the VAT to charge. You first need to establish the price.

So the following needs to be assessed: the price paid to purchase the materials (excluding VAT) used in the installation, then calculate this as a percentage of the total value of its supply (excluding VAT) to your customer.

If the cost of materials is 60% or less than the value of total supply including installation, then the reduced rate of 5% can be applied for the overall supply.

If the cost of materials is higher than 60% of total supply including installation, then the reduced rate of 5% can only be applied to the installation/labour element of the supply.

The following are energy-saving materials covered by the reduced rate:

  • controls for central heating and hot water systems
  • draught stripping
  • insulation
  • solar panels
  • ground source heat pumps
  • air source heat pump
  • micro combined heat and power units

*Wind turbines and water turbines are no longer included as energy saving materials.

Also note that if the energy saving materials is supplied for the construction of a new dwelling, then zero rated VAT can apply. The reduced rate does not apply to the installation of energy-saving materials in hospitals, prisons or similar institutions, hotels or inns or similar establishments.

Note this information has been obtained from this link – and is correct at the time of writing.

Please contact Aaron for more details.

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