VAT on Private Tuition


When two of my clients retired from teaching in schools they set up a partnership to deliver tuition for GCSE Maths and English. Each tutor teaches their own individual students, as well as delivering tuition to a group.  But most of the time they use third-party teachers to take the group sessions.  Their turnover is £140,000 looking back over the last 12 months.  But they are not VAT registered as they believe their services are all exempt. So will there be a VAT on private tuition?



Where a sole trader or a partner in a partnership teaches a subject ordinarily taught in schools or universities.  This is an exempt supply of private tuition.  As your client is a partnership and the partners are teaching normal curriculum subjects then there will be no VAT on tuition fees and their tuition will be an exempt supply.  HMRC’s manual VATEDU40200 confirms that supplies are still exempt even if the partnership:

  • Delivers the classes to a group.
  • Contracts with an individual or organization that makes an onward supply of educational services.
  • Works under a franchise agreement that allows him or her to use the teaching methods, name or trading style of another person or organization.

As the partnership engages other teachers to deliver some of the tuition, that element of their turnover will be standard rated. Your client needs to keep records sufficient to identify the level of exempt sales of partner tuition and taxable sales of tuition carried out by others.

Any goods or services supplied in the course of private tuition will be standard rated, unless there is a specific relief, for example, a sale of books in printed format, which would be zero-rated. But there will be a VAT on university fees.

The partnership is making both exempt and taxable supplies, but they will only be looking at the taxable turnover when deciding whether they should be registered for VAT. If the total standard and zero-rated income have not exceeded the £85,000 threshold then there is no requirement to register unless they choose to do so voluntarily. If their taxable turnover exceeds the registration threshold then this will be a compulsory registration and they will be partially exempt going forward

This table will help to decide whether the private tuition supplied by an individual teacher, working in a personal capacity, is exempt from VAT.


VAT Exemption

If the teacher is a solar proprietor or member of a partnership, there’s an exemption on the supply of private tuition even though the tuition delivered by the teacher (as sole proprietor or partner) may still qualify as exempt private tuition. The tuition that others deliver is standard-rated.

If a teacher takes on another teacher (or several others) to assist, either:

  • There should be an apportionment of supplies of tuition between exempt and taxable elements (using any fair and reasonable method)
  • All supplies of tuition should be treated as taxable regardless of who actually delivers it

For the VAT threshold, only the sales from sub-contractors’ work will be counted towards the VAT threshold. There is no exemption under the limited company, you will have to charge & pay VAT.


For further information, please see VAT Notice 701/30 (section 6) and VATEDU40000.

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