OWNERS of listed buildings in Yorkshire are frantically trying to beat a VAT deadline.
From October 1, the Government is set to end what it sees as an “anomaly” and impose VAT at 20% on alterations and restoration work to listed buildings.
Owners are now trying to get such work completed before that date – to save thousands of pounds and secure the property’s future for generations to come.
Investors who applied for listed building consent before March 21, 2012, can breath a sigh of relief if approved – as their building will be exempt from the imposition of VAT, providing preservation or refurbishment works have started and are at least 50% complete by September, 2015.
Preservation of a listed building involves dedication in time and money due to the more expensive methods and materials required to maintain them.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that the extra 20% levied against owners of these buildings mean these essential works will no longer be financially viable.
The RICS also claimed lifting the VAT exemption will also hit the desirability of listed properties to investors, which could result in a significant number “rotting” on the market and decreasing in value.
The organisation – as part of the Cut the VAT Coalition – is calling for the government to abandon the introduction of 20% VAT to listed buildings and introduce VAT at 5% on all home repair, maintenance and improvement works.
Colin Harrop, director at property agency Jones Lang La Salle, said: “Listed buildings are some of our country’s greatest assets. Removing the VAT exemption on alterations could mean the difference between a bright future and potentially damaging our region’s heritage, with potential investors and current owners simply unable to foot the bill for this extra expenditure.
“Listed status often means improvements and alterations have to use traditional methods and materials, which are already more expensive than for non-listed property.
“The exemption gave some respite and – in some cases – meant the building had a future as the responsibilities of owning and looking after often fragile listed properties are demanding enough.
“Any disincentives will, in the long run, harm the sector and our region as we have a lot of listed buildings.”