Public Sector

In addition to local authorities, Centurion has experience of working with a range of government bodies, Non Departmental Public Bodies and the NHS.

Our Engagement with the public sector

As an independent and award winning VAT specialist team we provide not just the credibility of a long established business but an organisation which is recognised for the quality of its VAT offering. We have delivered VAT training to government bodies including: The Ministry of Defence, Welsh Government, Companies House and The Patent Office. Through BEIS funded contracts we have delivered VAT training to prepare businesses for Brexit and to support Export growth initiatives. In addition, we have provided project specific VAT consultancy support to Non Department Public Bodies and to NHS bodies.

Sally Church CEO Torfaen Leisure Trust
Centurion VAT Charity and Public Sector Testimonial, Sally Church CEO, Torfaen Leisure Trust

Sector VAT Issues

Certain public sector bodies have a very different VAT legal regime to adhere to under section 33 of the VATA 1994 which allow a much wider range of VAT recovery on costs even though those costs relate to their statutory non-business activities. Other public bodies with VAT regulations away from the main business rules include Museums; Galleries, Academy Schools and Hospices.

Different VAT regulations (Section 41) cover Government Departments including the MOD and NHS Trusts. The VAT reliefs here are more specifically drafted and allow recovery on certain "contracted out services". Whilst it is vital for the bodies themselves to understand their VAT recovery entitlements it is also important for commercial providers of goods and services into such section 41 bodies to be familiar with their customers VAT recovery rules when positioning their own offering. This is particularly true of growing life science businesses who are looking at the NHS as being a key market sector in the UK.

It will be important to establish how any VAT changes that arise as we leave the European Union will affect the VAT rules within the UK more generally.

How Centurion can help

Some government departments may be precluded from taking “advice” on their VAT management affairs which means that effective VAT training for their own teams is vital. Preclusion from taking advice does not exclude them from the risk of a VAT inspection nor from assessments and penalties for VAT claimed in error or VAT missed on income.  In recent years it has been clear that these bodies have received active and on-going inspections from HMRC teams.  This has re-enforced the point that they are not excluded from the need to be VAT compliant.

Centurion's ability to be flexible in how it works with clients across these sectors has been key to our success.

We've delivered VAT training into a number of government departments and undertaken VAT audits on internal processes for non departmental bodies clarifying issues on VAT recovery and property related aspects. In the Life Sciences sector, we've assisted commercial businesses in understanding how the service products they are developing will sit within the VAT recovery structure for their potential NHS clients.

We also have experience of advising NHS bodies themselves on project specific VAT issues. This is particularly important as projects bring in collaboration partners from differing sectors.  We have charities working with the NHS as well as University Research teams in collaboration with NHS bodies on specific health research programmes.

Meet the team

Within our five strong VAT team specialists we have experts experienced in the VAT issues faced by the range of public sector bodies:

Louise Gray
Louise Gray


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Liz Maher
Liz Maher


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Julie Rawlinson-Smith
Julie Rawlinson-Smith

Associate Director

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Julie, Louise and Liz have many years of VAT experience both with Centurion and from their years in the Big 4 VAT teams in dealing with government departments.

Julie's knowledge of the NHS sector and the complexities of the Contracted Out Services VAT recovery rules has been a real asset to a range of our clients. This is particularly true of life science businesses looking to ensure that their product offering can, where applicable, be tailored in a way to ensure the supply will meet the conditions for VAT recovered in the NHS. Property transactions with section 41 bodies similarly can benefit from VAT consideration.


Our Public Sector Clients

Case study

Auditing the VAT impact on Grant Funded Projects

Helping the public sector understand the challenges of managing VAT is a task that Centurion willingly rise to. We were delighted to provide advice and training to assist a government audit team to gain insight on the VAT treatment impacting on European grant funding applications applying to major projects in public sector bodies.

The message was that a "one size fits all" solution does not work when assessing the VAT impact on major government or European funded projects especially as often these projects involve significant infrastructure projects creating property assets with a wide range of uses.

Through understanding the needs of the audit team we were able to devise a tailored training course dealing with practical examples which enhanced not only their general VAT knowledge but clarified the points of complexity across the differing sectors in which they operated.

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