It has long been the practice of adjoining owner’s surveyor to make out their invoice to the building owner, because it is usually the building owner who will be paying those fees.
The starting point is that a VAT registered supplier must send a VAT invoice to “the person to whom a supply is made”. That invoice must include “the name and address of the person to whom the goods or services are supplied”.
In the case of the building owner’s surveyor this will be the building owner. In the case of the adjoining owner’s surveyor this will be the adjoining owner.
It makes no difference that the surveyor has a statutory duty to act impartiality; the surveyor is still supplying services (albeit impartially) to the adjoining owner. Therefore, any invoice must name the adjoining owner, not the building owner.
VAT may only be recovered as an input tax the services are supplied to the person recovering them. In the case of the adjoining owner’s surveyor this will be the adjoining owner only, and not the building owner, even if only the building owner is registered for VAT.
It follows, therefore, that a VAT for an invoice for the adjoining owner’s fees must be made out to the adjoining owner only, and not the building owner. Any attempt by the surveyors to facilitate the building owner recovering VAT that they are not entitled to recover might, if discovered, be dimly looked upon by HMRC.
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