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In thinking that pensioners who are trying to provide for their future needs are being treated unfairly?

(22 Posts)
merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 17:14:26

I've bored everyone posted on other threads about our annexe conversion and the fact that we don't qualify for an insulation grant but finding out that we also can't claim back the VAT on building costs because a granny annexe is not an independent unit - even though it's a stand alone building and is making use of what was once a commercial property - has left me hopping mad!! angry

What is the point in retired people like us planning for our future needs, freeing up a three bedroom home for DD1 and her sons and doing our best to remain independent with family support nearby should we need it?

Mean spirited discrimination? I think so.

Letter to MP on its way.

janeainsworth Sat 22-Aug-15 18:07:49

Who has decreed that it's not an independent unit merlot?
Do you have any right of appeal on that? If it was an independent unit would you be able to claim the VAT back?
Where do you stand on council tax? presumably your dwelling will have to be re-assessed.
Could your new home be sold independently of the old house?
Just trying to think of arguments you could put forward!

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 18:32:28

Planning permission states that it can't be sold independently, janea. Council tax will be re-assessed when it has been completed.

I've written to our MP asking why the government doesn't waive VAT on granny annexes when surely there should be incentives for independent provision for old age. We're not asking for handouts - just a refund on tax paid.

I think it's very unfair that we can't get a grant for cavity wall insulation because the bungalow we are living in now is a renovated farm worker's cottage with timber frame and single brick construction so why can't we have the grant for the annexe which does have a cavity wall? It's not like we're being greedy and asking twice.

There are all sorts of instances where VAT can be claimed back on building conversions but not granny annexes. angry

Ana Sat 22-Aug-15 18:36:39

I don't understand that. Do you mean that if you weren't related to your DD you'd be able to claim the VAT back? How silly! confused

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 22-Aug-15 18:53:31

So you can't give it a separate address? I guess not if it can't be sold off independently of main dwelling. Does seem unfair though.

Cannot understand at all why you can't have a grant for cavity wall insulation for the annexe. (BTW it is possible in some areas to get a grant for exterior insulation for houses with single brickwork)

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 19:01:33

I've copied and pasted this from the government's claim form and notes on conversions....It starts off really positively:

VAT refunds for DIY housebuilders - Notes for conversions
You are eligible for this Scheme if you:
• are converting a previously non-residential property into a dwelling (not
for business purposes but to be used either by you or your relatives as a
principal place of residence),

Well, we certainly tick that box!


If the property is an annexe, extension, or any other form of ancillary
structure or building which cannot be disposed of or used separately from
another building, then it does not have independent status and will not
qualify for this Scheme.

• stables
• detached swimming pools, and
• annexes (such as ‘granny’ annexes)
– that cannot be disposed of or used
separately from another dwelling because the annexe is not ‘designed as
a dwelling’ in its own right.

So they're saying if we bought an old commercial unit on a different piece of land we'd be able to convert it and get the VAT back.

What would be the point of that when we need to be near DD? Isn't that the whole point?

It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't talking about quite a lot of money angry

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 22-Aug-15 19:09:48

I wonder if it would have worked if you had sold the annexe building, or the bungalow, to your DD. making them independent properties, and then she had applied for grants. (You would of course, supply the funding on the quiet) You would then buy the annexe back.

Just a devious thought.

Ana Sat 22-Aug-15 19:10:20

But how is it not 'designed as a dwelling' in its own right?

Is it that the gas, electricity etc. are connected to the main house?

Ana Sat 22-Aug-15 19:12:23

(with an independent metering facility, obviously, but diverted via the main property and not requiring a separate supply source?)

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 19:42:32

No gas but electricity and telephone have always been totally separate from the main house. The only thing we share is water and we will split the rates between us. That means both properties pay independent standing charges.

I will phone the VAT office on Monday and see what they say but it sounds cut and dried looking at their conversion notes.

It's the flippin' planning department I'd like to throttle. angry

janeainsworth Sat 22-Aug-15 20:04:21

Would there be any mileage in appealing against the planning decision that it can't be sold separately? What was the logic behind that?

Not wanting to sound morbid but at some point hopefully in the distant future it may be easier for DD if it could be sold separately.

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 20:09:54

We're on green belt land and it's nigh on impossible to get planning permission for an additional building that can be sold separately. I know rules can change but we wouldn't have got permission if we'd gone down that route.

I also think it's unfair that you can claim back VAT on converting a building into a holiday home providing it's for your own use. How are they going to police that??

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 20:12:00

Our builder is providing a proper VAT receipt but I wouldn't blame anyone for hunting around for a builder who works for cash. These kind of stupid rules make people dishonest.

janeainsworth Sat 22-Aug-15 21:37:53

Well that sounds barmy doesn't it.
You're going to be living there anyway and the building was already there - what difference does it make to the amenity of the area if it's designated as a dwelling in its own right?
It will be interesting to see what response you get from your MP. At one time the government wanted to reduce restrictions on green belt building, but are now concentrating on developing brownfield sites.

Deedaa Sat 22-Aug-15 22:33:31

I'm surprised you can't get a grant for cavity wall insulation. We had ours done for nothing several years ago and since then we've had several people ringing to see if we want it done.

durhamjen Sat 22-Aug-15 22:41:52

Merlot, haven't you answered your own question?
You wouldn't have got planning permission for a stand-alone unit; therefore it cannot be a stand-alone unit.

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 22:43:32

It's because it's an annexe and not the main dwelling, Deeda

I don't know about you but I think to lump granny annexes in with stables and swimming pools is nothing short of insulting, especially as they say
'an annexe is not ‘designed as a dwelling’ in its own right.'

What the bloody hell is it then? angry

Ana Sat 22-Aug-15 22:47:11

That was my point, merlot - if it's not attached to any other 'dwelling' and has its own independent utility supplies, how can it be anything other than a 'dwelling in its own right'? confused

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 22:47:35

Their definition of a stand alone unit sucks, dj.

It's all in the name.

merlotgran Sat 22-Aug-15 22:49:27

I know, Ana. That's what's so frustrating. I could have hit the bloke who came out to do a survey for the insulation. He said in his opinion it was nothing more than a shed!!

Dear God, who trains these idiots?

merlotgran Mon 24-Aug-15 11:38:48

I have heard back from our MP, Lucy Frazer, this morning - that was quick!!

She has passed it on to her senior caseworker and I've been asked to provide written evidence of being turned down for an insulation grant so I've e-mailed it to her.

I tried to phone the VAT office this morning but they are not taking any calls because they're busy....Poor dears, so I've sent her the link to their advice notes instead.

It might not come to anything but I honestly feel quite strongly that's it's unfair to expect pensioners to pay VAT on building an annexe for their future care needs when we could get it back if we converted a similar building on another plot of land down the road which would be further away from the person who is hopefully going to be looking out for us.


Ana Mon 24-Aug-15 11:49:11

Good luck, merlot - at least you'll be able to say you left no stone unturned!