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VAT and other taxes - Links to tax guides

The University's VAT number is GB 200 0126 59

As an educational charity the University is an 'Eligible Body' and is entitled to certain reliefs in respect of VAT, but this does not mean it can ignore VAT. Like any business, it must charge VAT, where applicable, on its income and pay VAT on many of its purchases. It must also submit quarterly VAT returns. VAT is a significant cost to the University because it can recover only a small proportion of the VAT it incurs. The legislation regarding VAT for education differs from that relating to businesses and some of the guidance given here will only apply to Universities.

The VAT guidance on this website has been written for staff working in the University and is regularly updated to reflect legislative changes. This information will help staff determine whether or not VAT should be charged on different types of income, how VAT will impact on expenditure related to different activities, and what reliefs are available. The VAT team run regular termly training courses advertised by the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD) and are happy to visit departments to discuss particular topics or run bespoke training. Please contact for further details.

For detailed VAT guidance notes please see the A to Z VAT Guidance on the V section of the A-Z on the front page of the finance website. VAT is a complex area and the guide is not exhaustive. Many VAT rules are subject to exceptions. If you have any specific queries with regards to VAT please contact in the first instance, using our VAT query template if possible.

The University has a number of subsidiaries, branches and connected companies each of which is separately VAT registered. VAT accounting for these companies is not the same as for the University. Please contact if you need any further information, using our VAT query template if possible. 

Henley Business School Limited GB 996 8987 06

Henley Business School GmbH DE 285 6706 89

Reading Real Estate Foundation GB 861 4155 33

University of Reading Finnish Branch FI 23062300

Thames Valley Science Park Limited GB 209 5970 84

A to Z list of pages and documents by tax

Customs duty

Customs Duty Guide

Employment tax

Employment Status Questionnaire

Employment Tax - Benefits and Expenses

Benefits in kind form 2023-24


A to Z guide

A to Z guide to VAT at the University

Advertising (Zero rating)

The University as a charity does not normally need to pay VAT on its advertising - for further information please see guidance note.

Advertising zero rating form

Form for issue to supplier for application of zero rate VAT for a supply of advertising to the University 

Books, including e-publications

Guidance note on the zero rating of books etc., including e-publications

Closely related supplies

Guidance note on supplies closely related to supplies of education


Guidance note on conferences and VAT.

Contract terms and wording of invoices

Guidance note on the contract terms and wording of invoices.

Courier invoices

Guidance note on VAT on courier invoices.

Education exemption

Guidance note on the education exemption.

Eligible bodies

Guidance note on Eligible bodies for the education exemption.

Errors on invoices

Guidance note on VAT errors on invoices.

European Union members

Details of members of the European Union.

External funding for stipends and course fees

When the University issues an invoice to an external company for their contribution to Student Stipends and Course fees, there are several things to be considered from a VAT perspective. For further information please see guidance note.

Fraction (The VAT Fraction)

Guidance note for when you receive a less detailed tax invoice and need to separate the VAT amount for coding.

Guide to VAT

Guide detailing how the University, as an educational charity, is entitled to certain exemptions and reliefs in respect of VAT.

International activities - summary data template for tax (ALL TAXES)

This template provides some information on potential tax issues arising when carrying out activities overseas, and a questionnaire to complete and submit to the Tax Team at ‘’ which will help the Tax Team understand the situation and provide more guidance if required.

Medical Supplies

Guidance note on medical supplies.

Medical Supplies - Request for a manual certificate of eligibility for zero rate VAT

Request to be emailed to in the event that tax code PM was not used on a purchase order.


Guidance note on the museums and galleries VAT refund scheme.

Overseas Purchases

Guidance note on purchases of goods and services from overseas suppliers

Overseas Sales

Guidance note on sales of goods and services to overseas customers.


Guidance note on the range of penalties HMRC can apply.

Proforma Invoices

Guidance note on proforma invoices.


Guidance note on VAT and project numbers.

Prompt payment discounts

Guidance note on prompt payment discounts.

Purchase tax codes

Guidance note on purchase tax codes.

Purchase and sales tax codes flash card

Document summarising purchase and sales tax codes


Guidance note on recharging expenses to customers.

Registration numbers

Guidance note on VAT registration


Guidance note on research

Retention of documents

Guidance note on the retention of documents.

Sales Invoices and Receipts

Guidance note on VAT when raising an invoice or banking cash.

Sales tax codes

Guidance note on sales tax codes.

Sponsorships, Grants and Donations

Guidance note on VAT and sponsorships, grants and donations.

Supplies to other Universities

Guidance note on supplying goods and services to other Universities.

Tax point

Guidance note on tax points.

VAT section in  the Finance Manual

Chapter setting out the University's arrangements in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT).

VAT Terminology

Guidance note on VAT terminology.

Things to do now

Contact us

VAT @ Reading


When contacting us please use our VAT Query template