§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Chancellor of the Exhequer what consideration has been given to the possibility of value added tax being levied on adult education fees; and which local education authorities have been approached by Customs and Excise officers in connection with value added tax assessment of students' fees.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
The value added tax treatment of adult education courses, except where provided by schools and universities supplying exempt education, depends on the level of the charge made to the participants and the nature and content of the courses.201W
When provided free of charge or where a local authority specifically subsidises its courses so that the fees charged are less than cost, such courses are not subject to tax. When provided for profit, courses are taxable.
If the fees are charged at cost, certain of these courses would be exempt from VAT, but sporting and recreational activities are excluded from this exemption unless provided as part of a general educational curriculum.
This has been the position since the beginning of the tax.
Local authorities are subject to control visits by Customs and Excise officers for VAT purposes, but I regret that detailed information about these visits is not held centrally.