The hassle-free route to reclaiming your racing-related VAT

Weatherbys have been completing VAT returns on behalf of Racehorse owners since the inception of the scheme in 1993. On average, owners can expect to recoup £4,500 a year by simply registering for VAT.

By signing up to the Racehorse Owners VAT Scheme you can reclaim VAT on many costs – including the purchase price of a horse, training fees, vet’s fees and blacksmith fees. You can also reclaim VAT on certain out-of-pocket expenses such as hotel bills spent while you are watching your horse race or train.

Why sign up?

  • Average saving of £4,500 per year per horse in training
  • Reclaim the VAT on the purchase price of each horse
  • Weatherbys Racing Bank will process your invoices and complete your VAT return

To sign up as a registered owner, you can be a sole proprietor, a partnership or limited company. If you own a part share in a racehorse you can only register for VAT if you own at least 50 per cent, otherwise you must register as a partnership with the other part share owners.

As with most things tax, the devil can be in the detail and that’s why it makes sense to seek expert help to navigate your way through the scheme. Handling VAT yourself can also prove a complex and time-consuming task.

How we help our clients

At Weatherbys Racing Bank, our VAT Services team takes all the administrative burden away from you. We provide advice and deal with HMRC on your behalf on all VAT affairs – taking care of everything from online applications to the collation and submission of quarterly VAT returns.

Why Weatherbys?

Our VAT Services Team has almost 30 years’ experience in providing a professional, accessible and knowledgeable service to racehorse owners. We aim to maximize the benefits of the VAT Scheme for our clients and ensure that all paperwork is completed accurately and on time in all cases. Our charges are also one of the most competitive in this market.

For Weatherbys Racing Bank account clients, we offer reconciliation for syndicates and a bespoke service whereby we can provide details of a horse’s income and expenditure throughout the year.

The VAT Scheme gives registered owners the opportunity to claim back their racing-related VAT if they own/lease 50% or more of a horse in training and have a sponsorship agreement in place. The Scheme enables VAT to be reclaimed on various expenses such as:

  • The original purchase price of the horse
  • Training fees, veterinary fees and blacksmith fees
  • Telephone bills, travel and accommodation costs incurred when you are watching your horse race or train.

Please be aware that output VAT is also due to HMRC on income such as sponsorship, prize money and the sale of any horses.

Weatherbys VAT Services can deal with HMRC on your behalf to set up your VAT registration. Please contact the team on 01933 543555 or complete the enquiry form on this page, and we can assist you in starting the registration process.

The scheme is open to any racehorse owner registered with the British Horseracing Authority, subject to certain conditions. Weatherbys VAT Services can act as your VAT Agent in the UK.

If you are in a syndicate or partnership, then you can register a joint VAT number with your partners and claim back the VAT through this registration. However, if you own less than 50% and cannot join with another partner to reach the 50% qualifying amount, then you will not be able to register for VAT under the scheme.

There is no cost to register directly with HMRC. If you decide to use Weatherbys VAT Services as your Agent, as part of our service we will liaise with HMRC, gathering the necessary information and submitting the application on your behalf, saving you the hassle of completing complex forms. We charge a one-off fee for this service of £52 plus VAT, which is included in the charge when we do the first VAT submission.

We base our charges on the number of horses in training and ownership type. Our charges start from as little as £109 plus VAT per quarter. Please contact the VAT Services team on 01933 543555 or vatreg@weatherbys.bank for further information. The VAT on our charges is also reclaimable.

Weatherbys Bank Account holders receive a discount on our charge.

If you are a Weatherbys Bank account holder, you do not need to do anything as the charge will be debited from your account following the submission of your VAT return. If you do not hold a Weatherbys Bank account, an invoice will be raised and sent to you with payment instructions.

The sponsorship framework is designed to allow owners to register their racing activities as a business for VAT purposes. All racehorse sponsorship agreements must be registered with the British Horseracing Authority. Your trainer may be able to help with this or alternatively you can speak with Weatherbys VAT Services on 01933 543555 for further advice.

Currently Making Tax Digital rules only apply to VAT registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000). However, any businesses with a taxable turnover below this VAT threshold can voluntarily join the Making Tax Digital service. HMRC is planning to introduce Making Tax Digital for all VAT registered businesses from 1 April 2022 regardless of their taxable turnover.

Weatherbys VAT Service is fully MTD compliant and we register all our clients for Making Tax Digital as part of the service.

Listed below are some reasons why it may be beneficial to use us as a VAT Agent:

  • VAT registration and deregistration are dealt with by the VAT team
  • VAT returns are submitted on your behalf, including checking all invoices for accuracy and qualification
  • HMRC site visits are done at our Wellingborough office rather than your own home/office
  • VAT penalty negation and mitigation
  • With almost 30 years’ experience we can maximise the amount of VAT you can reclaim through a detailed knowledge of the scheme
  • We deal directly with HMRC regarding your VAT affairs meaning you don’t have to
  • Weatherbys VAT Service will be the first point of contact for HMRC, should they have any queries
  • Our charges are one of the most competitive in this market

The easiest and safest method is to send them to our primary email address, which is vatreg@weatherbys.bank from which you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt. We can accept most image types, with the exception of HEIC files. A reminder email is sent each quarter prompting you to forward your invoices for your VAT submission. Alternatively, you can send your invoices to us as you receive them.

The invoice must include the following:

  • Name, address and VAT registration number of the supplier
  • Date of the invoice
  • VAT rate and amount
  • Your name and address
  • Horse(s) name or breeding if unnamed

*You cannot reclaim VAT using an invoice that states this is not a VAT invoice/receipt, or by using a proforma invoice, a statement or a delivery note.

If you join the scale charge scheme (by paying a quarterly fee based on your vehicle’s emissions) you can reclaim VAT on all fuel receipts used for both business and private use, along with service invoices for that vehicle. You can find further information about the scale charge scheme by either contacting us at vatreg@weatherbys.bank or in the HMRC Motoring Expenses Guide (VAT Notice 700/64).

Yes, if 50% or more of the horse is owned VAT will be received in addition to the prize money. The VAT portion is then declared to HMRC as income received. For example, if you are VAT registered and you receive £12,000 into your racing account, £10,000 is the prize money that you will keep and £2,000 is the VAT, which is then declared on the VAT return. If you were not VAT registered, you would only receive £10,000 prize money into your racing account.

No, if you have no invoices for a VAT quarter (for example, your horse is on a break at home) then a reduced fee of £41 plus VAT will be charged. HMRC requires that we still submit a VAT return, even if you have no invoices to include.

VAT repayments are typically repaid by HMRC within 7 to 10 days from the date of submission; however, they can take up to 28 days to be repaid. We will send you the VAT breakdown by email along with the confirmation that your return has been submitted. The VAT reclaim will be transferred directly from HMRC to any UK bank account in the name of the VAT entity, so it is entirely up to you as to where you specify this be paid. This includes being able to opt to pay it into your Weatherbys Bank Account, which is the preference for most owners.

If you sell your racehorse after you are VAT registered, the sale will attract VAT. If you are entering it for sale through a public auction, then please notify the auction house in advance of the sale that you are VAT registered. If you sell the horse privately then the sales invoice must detail the VAT charged. All VAT charged on sales must be declared to HMRC.

You must account for VAT if you recovered input VAT on the original purchase. The value suggested by HMRC for VAT purposes is the open market value at the time the non-business use occurs, or the horse is disposed of. If you are not certain of the open market value you should ask a bloodstock agent for a valuation.

We can apply to deregister your VAT number with HMRC and submit the final VAT return. Please send a deregistration request to vatreg@weatherbys.bank quoting your VAT registration number or phone us on 01933 543555.

If you intend to put another horse in training within 12 months, we can submit nil VAT returns for you in the interim period. HMRC dictates that while the VAT registration is active, we need to submit a quarterly VAT return. Our minimum quarterly charge of £41 plus VAT will apply for submitting a nil return. Failure to submit a quarterly VAT return may result in HMRC issuing a penalty or surcharge notice. Further information can be found at

www.gov.uk/vat-returns/surcharges-and-penalties