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Governance & Compliance 76: VAT charges on school water bills

Please note the following from the VAT Team regarding VAT on water bills.

It has recently come to the attention of the VAT Team that a Devon Maintained School, has in error been charged VAT on their water bills (From South West Water).

VAT is only payable on the water bills of businesses involved in the following industries:

  • Chemicals
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Textiles

Water supplies to domestic and non-industrial customers should be zero rated.

Can we please ask that schools check their water bills, if any bills include a VAT charge, the school should either

  • contact the supplier to get the error corrected


  • email a copy of the bill to the VAT helpdesk and the VAT team will contact the supplier on the schools behalf, the VAT Team contact address is supplied here: