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VAT is charged to the University on purchase invoices - we pay this to our suppliers.

The supplier invoice should clearly identify if VAT has been charged.

The University is liable to pay VAT on goods or services bought from outside the UK.

Purchases from outside the UK may also be liable to customs duty.

When the University imports goods from overseas, VAT is also normally charged at the same rate as if they had been supplied in the UK.

When the University imports equipment mainly used for medical training or research from a country outside the UK, the goods can be imported free of duty and VAT.

See the reliefs section for more details on importing free of duty and VAT.


When purchasing Goods from outside the UK the VAT code on the requisitions should be RWG (unless claiming VAT relief).

The invoice from the supplier won't contain UK VAT as this will be added by Customs/courier on arrival into the UK.

VAT is still due to be paid at the point of entry into the UK which can be done by the courier who is handling the shipment will calculate the VAT and any duty payable and either request payment before shipment is made or if we have an account with them, will continue with the shipment and send us an invoice.

The courier requires the following information from the University:

VAT registration number (GB 142 0477 95), and

EORI number (GB142047795000)

Some suppliers will ship DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) in which case there will be no VAT to be added by Customs.

For invoices that relate to goods which will be used for the purposes of medical research, medical training, treatment or diagnosis, Tax Code RWZ should be selected on the requisition and VAT criteria also completed. This will trigger a simplified version of the VAT Zero Rating Certificate being sent to the supplier. This may also be required by the courier so they do not add VAT.


Purchases of services from outside the UK are subject to reverse charge VAT.

The University must account for VAT due at the rate of VAT that the supply would attract if supplied in the UK, i.e. services of consultants, engineers, lawyers, accountants, data processing, the supply of staff, software, licence and other electronically supplied services, etc. For these types of purchases, please enter the VAT code RS (at the top and bottom) of the requisition.

VAT will be either charged to the expenditure account code or the input VAT account code, depending on the set up of the budget centre or project code. Finance will be responsible for collecting the reverse charge VAT and remitting the payment to HMRC in the quarterly VAT return.

Some services are “paid where supplied” and will not have VAT added but will contain VAT paid in the country of use/enjoyment, i.e. hotel accommodation, car hire, etc. For these types of purchases, please enter the VAT code OS (at the top and bottom) of the requisition.

All non-UK requisitions will be routed via the Tax Team for approval.

Reverse charged VAT added to purchases from outside the UK is paid over to HMRC in the quarterly VAT return as part of our statutory requirements.

There is no general exemption for charities from the VAT legislation. Only VAT registered charities can reclaim VAT they are charged, subject to restrictions on the amount they can recover.

The University of Exeter is a charitable body and an ‘eligible body’ for VAT purposes under Group 6 (Education), VAT Act 1994. The University pays VAT on most of its goods and services and can only recover a small percentage of VAT.