VAT on Private Tuition

For individuals or businesses delivering private tuition, it can be difficult to know whether or not you need to charge VAT. In general, VAT is a legal requirement, but there are exceptions that can make this confusing. At the same time, it is vital to meet all of your tax obligations - the penalties for failing to do so can be extremely severe.

If you need advice on whether or not the VAT exemption applies to the tuition delivered by you or your business, or support with managing your VAT and other tax liabilities, get in touch with the team at The VAT People. Our consultants are experts in the most up-to-date guidance on VAT for tutors and education providers. Every member of our team is a trained specialist who can help you to maintain compliance and understand your VAT liability when you provide private tuition services.

Speak to The VAT People about your situation today for expert guidance on which services are exempt from VAT and when you need to charge VAT on private tuition services. Call us on 0333 3638 012, or fill out our online enquiry form to request a call back at a convenient time for you.

When is private tuition exempt from VAT?

Private tuition supplied under certain, particular circumstances qualifies for exemption from VAT. The rules for what qualifies as exempt private tuition can be ambiguous, although there are some clear restrictions on what can and can't be considered VAT-exempt supply.

To qualify, the supply must:

  • be private tuition supplied by an individual teacher - i.e., a tutor who is not working on behalf of an employer; and
  • be a subject ordinarily taught in a school or university.

While the first rule is usually unambiguous, the second can be much more difficult to determine. For certain subjects, their VAT exemption is clear, but for others, it is much more difficult. It is hard to say without understanding the specifics whether a particular subject is one taught regularly in a sufficient number of schools or universities that it meets this requirement. For this reason, it is best to speak to the team at The VAT People about your specific needs in cases where you are unsure for support in meeting any VAT obligations required by law.

There can also be ambiguity about what counts as an individual teacher for these purposes. A sole trader would clearly count, but what about a member of a partnership? In fact, this type of supply may also count as VAT-exempt private tuition.

VAT is only mandatory on private tuition supplied by a limited company, or its employees or subcontractors, or if the subject is not ordinarily taught in schools or universities. However, not every case will fall into one or the other category, which can make this confusing for private tutors seeking to understand their responsibilities. The answers in these cases depend on the specifics of the business activity, the individual teacher, the structure in which they work and the subject they are teaching.

For insights into how this might affect your business, contact The VAT People today. 

How we can help you

The VAT People is one of the UK's best resources for VAT advice, and we specialise in making sure businesses and individuals supplying private tuition are able to meet their tax obligations. We can discuss the exact nature and circumstances of your supply to advise you on whether or not it is VAT-liable. From there, we can instruct you on how to register for VAT and ensure you continue to comply with any relevant legal requirements.

Our advisors stay up-to-date on the latest developments across tax laws and the education sector specifically, meaning that we will always be in a strong position to offer you the most practical advice, and make you aware of any exemptions or reliefs that are relevant.

For businesses supplying private tuition, we offer VAT training to help you and your staff to manage your VAT liabilities. Under some structures, tutors may be responsible for registering for VAT, calculating and charging VAT on their supplies, as well as filing their returns and making the relevant payments. Training can help to make sure that everyone is meeting their legal obligations and avoiding the difficulties of tax mistakes.

No matter the VAT-related services you need, get in touch with the VAT People today to learn how we can help. We are ready to apply our experience in advising on tax matters in the education sector, and working with private tutors specifically, to help you fulfil your VAT liabilities.

FAQs about charging VAT on private tuition

What is the current VAT rate for private tuition?

If services supplied are not exempt from VAT, you will need to charge tax at the standard rate of VAT, which currently sits at 20%.

Do I need to register for VAT if I offer private tuition services?

If you offer these services as a sole trader or individual teacher, and the subject is taught regularly in a number of schools and/or universities, you will not need to register for VAT. If either of these conditions is not met, you may need to register if your income from these services exceeds the VAT threshold.

The current VAT threshold is £85,000 per annum, and businesses or individuals that deliver tuition must be VAT-registered if they exceed this registration threshold and deliver services that are not exempt from VAT.

Is VAT applicable to online/virtual private tuition as well?

Online courses and tuition are typically taxed at the place of supply. This means that if you are based in the UK, you will need to follow UK VAT rules, no matter where your students are based. As such, the same rules apply to online courses as to tuition carried out in person: if the subject is regularly taught in schools or universities, and you are providing the tuition and a sole trader, it is exempt from VAT. Otherwise, you must pay the standard rate.

Contact Us

The team at The VAT People can offer any support or guidance you need regarding your VAT liability as a sole trader or business supplying private tuition. It is vital to understand and fulfil your legal obligations, as the penalties for errors or unpaid taxes can be very serious.

To find out more about how we can help or start the process of VAT registration, call us today 0330 8284 273, or get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form and we will call you back at a more convenient time for you.