Construction Domestic Reverse Charge

Implementation of the Domestic Reverse Charge, is due to come into effect on 1 March 2021 for the construction sector.

The reverse charge is an anti-fraud measure which prevents the supplier from charging VAT to the customer, but then not paying it over to HMRC. The measure will affect specified supplies of building and construction services supplied at the standard and reduced rates, which are reported under CIS. It will not apply to zero-rated services.

At the same time as announcing the delay HMRC also announced in Business Brief 07/2020, that the legislation will be amended, so that businesses will only be excluded from the reverse charge as end users or intermediary supplies, if they have informed their subcontractors in writing about this fact.

Supply and installation contracts will also be subject to the reverse charge. For example, a joiner constructing a staircase offsite then installing it onsite is making a reverse charge service, even if the charge for installation is only a minor element of the overall charge.

It should be noted that sub-contractors only making reverse charge supplies will be repayment traders after 1 March 2021 and due consideration should be given for switching to monthly VAT returns.

Furthermore, any VAT registered sub-contractors using the Flat Rate Scheme should consider reverting to normal VAT accounting post 1 March 2021. Reverse charge supplies are excluded from their flat rate calculations so there is no need to account for the flat rate on reverse charge supplies, but as a flat rate trader they are restricted from recovering input tax. Your client might decide to come out of the flat rate from 1 March 2021 and start recovering his input VAT.

The domestic reverse charge will have a significant impact on VAT compliance and cash flow management for the businesses involved. They will need to adapt their accounting systems to deal with VAT. There will be a negative impact on the cash flows for many affected businesses, as they will no longer get VAT payments from customers where the reverse charge applies. Businesses will have to review contracts before 1 March 2021 to determine which ones will be subject to the domestic charge, to ensure the correct declarations have been provided in terms of end-user or intermediary status.

Source: Croner TaxWise