Midsteeple Quarter (MSQ) is a Community Benefit Society set up and run by the people of Dumfries to help breathe new life into Dumfries Town Centre, by bringing 8 underused High Street properties under community control and refurbishing these as modern living, working, social, learning and enterprise spaces. The first property subject to redevelopment as part of this ambitious project is 135-139 High Street, locally known as ‘the Oven’, which MSQ obtained from Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2020. The property had lain empty for a number of years, prior to being utilised as a pop-up venue for local charity fund raising events by the Council; more recently MSQ has used it as a venue for public focused creative initiatives. The newly approved plans for the property include a retail and exhibition area, workshops and office space alongside seven residential flats.
What we did
MSQ approached French Duncan for VAT advice in relation to the redevelopment works, as well as guidance on how the planned use of the building would impact MSQ’s VAT profile. In order to provide a detailed breakdown of the VAT liability of the construction works, we undertook a detailed review of the architectural drawings, the cost analysis work and the submitted planning documents. In addition, we looked closely at the future use of the property and provided a detailed report of how this would impact MSQ’s VAT position going forwards.
Our review of the planned construction work helped confirm where VAT relief was available, particularly where different rates of VAT applied from those proposed by the contractor. This enabled MSQ to accurately budget for the VAT impact of the construction work. Thereafter, the VAT analysis of the use of the building enabled MSQ to understand its VAT compliance options and obligations and ensured that the charity was well informed at an early stage. Early VAT planning and an understanding of its VAT compliance obligations has helped to future proof MSQ’s activities from a VAT perspective, in particular the wider Highstreet regeneration project.
“Engaging the VAT team at French Duncan has given us the confidence that not only are all our current VAT compliance requirements being met, but we now know exactly what to expect from planned activities too. Future proofing is very important to us and the wider community, and being able to budget accurately is of great benefit to us all. We would happily recommend French Duncan.”
Scott Mackay, Executive Director, Midsteeple Quarter