The difference to local authority control
When a school or college is under local authority control, including city or county council control, it is not a separate entity for VAT and is effectively only a division within the local authority.
Therefore local authority schools or colleges cannot directly reclaim VAT from HMRC, even if operating as a full “cheque book” school.
The local authority remains responsible for recovering VAT and for accounting to HMRC for any VAT due on business supplies made by the school. Local authority schools and colleges cannot register for VAT, as the local authority registration already includes such schools.
Academies are different
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