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An area that often causes confusion is bench fees. These are payments made to the University for use of the facilities which may include the use of consumables within a lab. If you are making a supply of consumables only this is a supply of goods which will be exempt if supplied to a student and standard rated if supplied to any other body.

Otherwise supplies of bench fees to individuals will be exempt if the individual is a student as a closely related supply of education or VATable at the standard rate if the individual is a visiting scholar, irrespective of where they 'belong'.

The decision as to whether a supply is closely related to the provision of education can be subject to interpretation and in cases of doubt you should seek advice from the University Tax team.

If the bench fee is charged to a business in the UK the charge will be taxable at the standard rate (SR20%). However, if the business is outside the UK, including other Universities, the charge will be zero-rated (use code EZS for the EC or RS for countries outside the EC).

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