Information about VAT at York including our VAT number, which codes to use on invoices and the rates we are subject to.

Details for reference

  • The University’s VAT registration number: GB 647 2055 41
  • The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme number is GB000647205541 and may be required where we're moving goods in from or out to points outside the EU

Further information

Purchases - in general
  • The VAT code on purchase invoices from UK suppliers is P1 if they've got 20% VAT on and P3 if they've got 0% VAT on.
  • Where the supplier is not VAT registered the VAT code on the invoice is P4.
  • Please note: we are still liable to pay VAT on goods or services bought from outside the UK; we don't avoid UK VAT by buying from suppliers outside the UK. Where the supplier is elsewhere in the EU the VAT code on the invoice is E3, and where the supplier is in the rest of the world the code is O1. The VAT on these purchases is called "reverse charge VAT" and is added to the same code as the invoice by staff in Finance. Purchases from outside the EU may also be liable to customs duty.
Purchases - zero rated
  • As a charity, the University's purchases of certain equipment and some consumables to be used for medical research may qualify for zero rating (often wrongly called "VAT exempt purchases"). Funds to buy the equipment must come from charitable sources (so nearly all of the University's funding qualifies) and the extent of their use for medical research must be, in HMRC's terms, "substantial, real and continuing" - most universities regard "substantial" as meaning more than 50%.
  • Zero rating certificates are required by the supplier where they are UK/EU based and are, in effect, an application by us for the supplier to consider zero rating. We have no automatic right to zero rating and there are penalties for misuse of these certificates.
  • Where the supplier is outside the EU we are required to contact HMRC's National Imports Reliefs Unit before the goods are shipped to us to get consent to zero rating.
  • The University is also entitled to zero rating relief on buying certain advertising services.
Sales and income
  • Most of the University's income is either exempt from VAT (eg student tuition fees, student accommodation and student catering), or outside the scope of VAT (eg grant income).
  • However, any income where the University provides something in return to the customer (eg consultancy, or research where IP becomes the funder's property) may be liable for VAT, particularly where the customer is also based in the UK.
  • We generally don't charge VAT on supplies made to customers outside the UK, unless those customers are private individuals or a charity, government department or other body which has no business activities, in which case VAT may be applicable.
University VAT Group
  • The University and several of it subsidiary companies are formed together in a VAT group. These subsidiary companies are NYCH Ltd, York Conferences Ltd, York Health Economics Consortium Ltd and York Science Park Ltd. VAT does not apply to any transactions between members of the VAT Group.
  • Also, within the University, VAT does not apply to any transactions between any departments.
Basic mechanism of VAT
  • We can recover the VAT (input VAT) we incur on our costs when we charge VAT (output VAT) to a customer for work done for them, as long as there is also a "direct and immediate link" between the two transactions. 
  • We may also be able to recover VAT where we don't charge VAT because the customer is outside the UK, if the supply to that customer is one which would be subject to VAT in the UK - eg consultancy.
  • At the end of each quarter (in January, April, July and October) the University submits a VAT Return to HMRC, where we aggregate all the output VAT we have charged and deduct all the input VAT we've incurred, where we have a right to deduct that VAT, and pay the net amount to HMRC.
Receiving payments from the USA

USA entities making payments to the University may require you to supply them with a copy of "Form W8BEN-E", without which they are obliged to deduct US withholding tax. A signed form can be obtained from Michael Slade: michael.slade@york.ac.uk.