If you are a developer or main contractor engaging other construction professionals, you should be aware that HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) has consulted on a draft order to introduce, from 1 October 2019, a VAT “reverse charge” for business- to-business supplies of certain construction services (other than the professional work of architects or surveyors, or of consultants in construction services). The reverse charge is an anti-fraud measure that will require the recipient of those supplies to pay the VAT on those supplies directly to HMRC instead of to the supplier. HMRC will publish a final version of the order and guidance by October 2018.
While the reverse charge is over a year away, as a developer or main contractor, you should start preparing for it now. In particular, it may be helpful to familiarise yourself with the new rules so that you can determine whether to adapt accounting systems and processes to enable reverse charge supplies to be calculated and reported. Thankfully, HMRC acknowledges the compliance burden so support will be available during the one year lead-in period. You may also be relieved to know that HMRC has indicated that, for the first six months after the reverse charge takes effect, it will adopt a “light touch” approach to genuine mistakes and related penalties.