Are you ready to dive into the world of VAT reverse charge for the construction industry?

If you’re new to this concept or need a refresher, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the key aspects of the VAT reverse charge and explain everything you need to know.

What is the VAT Reverse Charge?

The VAT reverse charge is a mechanism introduced by the UK government in the construction industry to combat fraud and improve tax compliance. It shifts the responsibility of accounting for VAT from the supplier to the customer. This means that the customer will now be responsible for reporting VAT to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) instead of the supplier.

How Does It Work?

Under the VAT reverse charge, when a construction service is supplied between VAT-registered businesses, the customer will charge themselves the VAT and then simultaneously recover it as input tax on their VAT return. This change is intended to prevent missing trader fraud, where suppliers collect VAT from customers but disappear before paying it to HMRC.

Impact on Recruiters:

As a recruiter in the construction industry, it’s crucial to understand the VAT reverse charge and its impact on your business operations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cash Flow: The VAT reverse charge may affect your cash flow, as you will no longer receive VAT payments from your customers. This change requires careful financial planning to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover your costs.
  • Accounting Systems: It’s essential to update your accounting systems to reflect the new VAT reverse charge mechanism. Make sure you have the necessary software and processes in place to account for VAT correctly and meet HMRC’s requirements.
  • Communication: Effective communication with your clients, suppliers, and contractors is key. You need to inform them about the changes and ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities under the VAT reverse charge scheme.

The reverse charge does not apply where:

  • The services are supplied to an end user, such as the property owner
  • The recipient makes onward supplies of the construction services to a connected company
  • The recipient is not VAT registered, or required to be VAT registered
  • The recipient is not registered for the CIS
  • The supplier and recipient are landlord and tenant


The VAT reverse charge is a significant change in the construction industry, and recruiters need to be well-informed to adapt their business operations accordingly. By understanding the mechanism, preparing your accounting systems, and communicating with stakeholders, you can navigate this change successfully and ensure compliance with HMRC regulations.