I work for a community festival (charity) that is VAT registered and qualifies for cultural exemption for VAT on ticket sales. We’re not able to claim all of the input tax we incur as we fall outside the de minimis limits, so we’re partly exempt and use HMRC’s standard method to calculate our VAT returns. Over the past couple of years, it’s became apparent that we’d be better off if we paid the VAT on ticket sales and were able to reclaim the input tax on event related expenditure. We’ve phoned the VAT helpline on a few occasions and have been given conflicting advice. One person told us that the cultural exemption is mandatory for us as we fulfil the criteria whilst another said that it isn’t. I’ve heard about special methods we can use to calculate our VAT returns (with prior approval from HMRC) but I’m unable to access advice/notice PE3000 on the HMRC website. Would anyone be able to shed some light on this for me?