I am a small business delivering online photography courses to customers ( predominantly in the UK). The courses have a strong live component ( delivered by myself and other subcontracting instructors in live online sessions, supported by material published on a private site). I had previously been led to believe that this live delivery meant that my courses were VAT exempt. My previous turnover positioned me below the threshold so I hadn't investigated it fully, but as the business grew, we're now hitting that line. But when I approached a couple of recommended accountants, I was given two different interpretations of what the services I render actually fall under and whether or not I may be exempt.
I now believe that the 'live component' element applies to services rendered to customers outside of the UK.
But what I've not been able to determine, is whether the services rendered within the UK are Education? ( I am not an eligible body, unless education provided by sole proprietor counts?) or digital services? ( although my services are not a provision of ready to go documents, but tailored advice in online group setting)?
And given the above, I don't know whether they should be VAT exempt or not?
The two accountants I spoke with have opposing views on this and I really don't want to fall foul of the regulations, but I also don't want to go into VAT unless I actually need to.
Any advice on this, suggestions for resources or even whether I can approach HMRC for clarification would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance