VAT on Funerals

Make sure that know which parts of your service are vatable.

Download the VAT Note on Funerals here.

VAT on Cremations Forms & Certificate

Recently there was some confusion on whether VAT would apply to cremation forms and certificates.

HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed that cremation forms and certificates will be exempt from VAT.

The confirmatory letter is as follows:
26th April 2007

Dear Mr Morris

Cremation certificates
Following your communication with HM Treasury on Monday, since VAT is the responsibility of HM Revenue & Customs, I would like to confirm that cremation certificates (forms B, C & F) issued by doctors remain exempt from VAT.  I thought it might be helpful to explain the background that led to the problems over the past week or so.

From 1 May this year, the scope of the exemption for medical services will be restricted to cover only those services provided by a health or medical professional where the principal purpose is the protection, maintenance or restoration of an individual’s health.  Obviously, this change will exclude work in connection with cremations from this exemption.

These changes became necessary following the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled that the UK was applying exemption for medical care services too widely.  The UK has no option but to implement this decision.  However, in doing so, the Government has taken all possible steps to maintain the widest interpretation of the exemption as is consistent with the ECJ’s decision.  Prior to the legislative change, extensive consultation was carried out, involving many stakeholders and other interested parties, particularly those in the medical field.

While cremation certificates will no longer be exempt from 1 May under the UK exemption for medical care, we have considered whether an exemption or other relief might also exist elsewhere in the legislation.  We considered whether exemption might also be possible under Item 2 of Group 8 of Schedule 9 to the VAT Act 1994 “the making of arrangements for or in connection with the disposal or the remains of the dead” and in addition, we have considered whether one or more of the certificates may be outside the scope of VAT given their statutory nature.

As a result of this consideration, we are satisfied that fees charged for cremation certificates (forms B, C & F) should not be subject to VAT, and may continue to be exempted under Item 2 of Group 8.

I hope this reply is acceptable to you and that exemption for these certificates will continue for the foreseeable future.  HMRC will also be writing to the other main trade bodies as well as the British Medical Association.

Please feel free to contact me if anything requires clarification.

Yours sincerely

John Egerton
Policy Manager