In David Cosham v HMRC [2018] TC6985, the FTT considered whether electric blinds were 'ordinarily incorporated' in a DIY Housebuilder's new eco-house.

  • The taxpayer claimed a total of £14,505.53 in VAT refunds under the DIY housebuilders' scheme, including £2303.17 on electric blinds.
  • HMRC rejected the claim for the blinds on the basis that they did not fall within the definition of “building materials” at Note 22 of Group 5 Schedule 8 Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA 1994”)

The tribunal accepted that an 'eco-home', intended for sustainable living and could be a special type of house for the VAT building materials test.

The appeal failed because Mr Cosham could not produce any documentary evidence that electric blinds were normally fitted in eco-homes as a means of temperature control, despite being given time to do so by the tribunal.


It seems a shame that having got as far as persuading the Tribunal that eco-build houses should be treated as a special type of dwelling in their own right (a significant victory),  Mr Cosham did not then follow through with any documentary evidence that electric blinds were normally fitted in such houses. Perhaps trade magazines or internet articles could have provided him with sufficient evidence to persuade the Tribunal on this, as it seems he was close to winning his appeal.

Useful guides for our subscribers

VAT: DIY Housebuilders Scheme 
It is possible to recover VAT on constructing a new residential dwelling, or dwellings, even where there is no planned sale of the property.

VAT: Dwellings
What is the VAT treatment for construction, conversion, sale, and letting of a dwelling?

VAT: Land & Property: At a glance
Handy guide summarising which rate of VAT applies to what type of build project

External links

David Cosham v HMRC [2018] TC6985