Changes to notifying an option to tax (VAT) on land and buildings during the Coronavirus pandemic

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has made temporary changes to the time limit and rules for notifying an option to tax (charge VAT on) land and buildings.

Normally, when notifying HMRC of a decision to opt to tax land and buildings, you usually have 30 days to contact the tax authority either by printing and sending a notification, signed by an authorised person within the business or emailing a scanned copy of the notification.

However, due to the social distancing requirements that remain in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, HMRC has changed the time limit provided – extending it to 90 days from the date the decision to opt was made.

This extension applies to decisions made between 15 February and 31 May 2020. You can email notifications to HMRC by contacting optiontotaxnationalunit@hmrc.gov.uk.

If you are a business sending a notification you can do this by submitting a form, which can be found here, with an electronic signature, as long as you can provide proof that the signature is from a person authorised to make the option on behalf of the business.

This evidence could include emailing the form:

  • with an email from the authorised signatory to the sender within the business, giving authority to use the electronic signature
  • from the authorised signatory with their sign off in the email and the form
  • with an email chain or a scan of correspondence showing the authority given by an authorised signatory.

Similar proof will be required from an agent if you ask them to submit this information on your behalf.