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I am a Trustee for a registered charity involved in countryside regeneration. We have a visitors centre located within a country park setting, at which visitors pay a small charge for car-parking. The charge for parking on the private ground is non-enforceable and, arguably, could be viewed as a voluntary donation. We wish to know whether the income we derive from this source needs to be included (as income from parking) or excluded (as donations) in deciding whether we are now approaching the threshold for VAT registration., Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.


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26th Aug 2012 21:16

Car parking facitlties are standard rated. I would imainge HMRC would take a dim view of an argument that it was a volntary donation!

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28th Aug 2012 09:34

Take care...

Is the parking available to people who do not use the centre? If so it might be seen as non-primary purpose trading and possibly subject to corporation tax.

I tend to disagree with Arthur, as if you are not charging (or trying to charge) everyone who parks then the fee is optional and so not a consideration for a supply.

I would review the wording you display and do what is necessary to make it clear that payment is optional, but very much appreciated. Then see what the effect is on income so you can decide if it would be better to charge & pay VAT (& possibly CT).

Hope this helps

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31st Aug 2012 11:11

It would be very difficult to argue any monies received are a donation as the amount would have to be freely given with no expectation of anything in return. You couldn't charge a set amount for the car parking and you couldn't issue tickets for it either and how would you collect the monies assuming you currently have some sort of parking ticket machine. I agree with Arthur if you charge it will be a consideration for car parking and included in taxable turnover, otherwise it will have to be free parking as I can't see how you would collect the 'donations'.

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31st Aug 2012 11:31

What's in the visitors' centre?

If it constitutes a museum, gallery or art exhibition, you could instead charge for admission to the visitors' centre (to which the cultural services exemption might well apply) and offer a "green" discount for those travelling by foot or cycle.

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