Letter: A seasonal saving

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The Independent Culture
Sir: An article by Janet Fricker on your Home Life page ("A little list and a lot of bother", 15 November) has just saved us well over pounds 2,000.

We had just completed some alterations to our listed cottage, and paid the builder's bill which included a substantial sum of VAT. In her article Fricker clearly explained that the work we had done, which involved moving the staircase from the centre of the sitting room to another part of the house, should have been exempt from VAT. Having telephoned the local VAT office I was assured that this information was correct and they helpfully sent a booklet on VAT for builders which included a certificate of VAT exemption.

I was particularly delighted to see this article when I did, as we had been assured by both the builder and the architect that we would have to pay VAT. There was an element of malicious pleasure in getting something back from the tax man for once.


Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire