Thanks. I think that a consultation with a VAT advisor is going to be the best option for you. I fully understand your reluctance to go into detail on a public forum, but it’s a bit like seeking a medical diagnosis without fully describing the symptoms! The missing information may well impact on the VAT position. It may mean that potential opportunities aren’t suggested and/or irrelevant ones are (which then only adds to the confusion). Hopefully in a private consultation you’ll feel more able to provide the information.
Do you already have an accountant – if so, they may already be aware of an advisor who has assisted other clients with land and property VAT issues. Professional bodies are the CIOT (Chartered Institute of Taxation) and the ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians). The CIOT’s CTA qualification is a higher level than the ATT, some CTAs will have taken the ATT first. There was once a separate body for indirect taxes such as VAT called the IIT (Institute of Indirect Taxation), however this merged with the CIOT some years ago. There are some big differences in principles between direct and indirect taxation, and at one stage they fell under different tax authorities – Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. So an expert in one area may have a more limited understanding of the other. Over time, the CIOT/IIT merger may help to address this.
Bear in mind that there are also many highly experienced and knowledgeable advisors who do not hold a professional qualification. Ex-HMRC employees are likely to be in this position, as HMRC/HMCE run their own training and professional development programmes. Some who were employed in in-house advisory roles will be in a similar position. Potentially there are advantages of experience when dealing with specific very technical advisory issues which won’t necessarily have been covered in an exam. However, the lack of membership does mean that their work won’t be governed by the rules of a professional body.