On Demand – Disbursements, Recharges & VAT

Disbursements, Recharges & VAT

Speaker: Darren Whelan

Length: 45 Minutes

Published September 24, 2022

Last Updated on May 1, 2023

Who is this training for?

This on demand workshop is for Solicitors, Lawyers, Accountants, Compliance Officers, COFA’s, Legal Accounts Professionals, Legal Cashiers and anyone that has any involvement in working in legal finance and compliance.

Purpose of this training?

The decision reached in Brabners v The Commissioners of HMRC caused a lot confusion within the legal profession, resulting in conflicting and incorrect guidance provided by reporting accountants and training providers. Some of that guidance stated that firms should take the ‘risk adverse’ approach by charging VAT on the cost of all searches irrespective of circumstances in which they were incurred. This is not the correct application of the VAT regulations.

This on demand workshop focuses on the correct treatment of disbursements for VAT purposes and recharged overheads. The workshop will look at both HMRC’s and the SRA’s definition of disbursement and it will explore the VAT Act 1994, Notice 700, case law and address issues that have emerged from cases like the ‘Brabners’ decision and the implications of those decisions to law firms.  Conundrums and scenarios will be posed and discussed throughout the session.


  • Disbursement Definition (HMRC and SRA)
  • Qualifying Payments
  • Disbursement Accounting Methods (Agency and Principal)
  • Medical Reports/Records
  • Search Fees and Search Agencies
  • VAT Invoices/Bills
  • Counsel Fees
  • Case Law
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Further Information


Accounts & Finance Practice Notes (Subscriber only resource)

Compli-Q – Compliance FAQs (Subscriber only resource)

Disbursement or Recharge Calculator (Subscriber only resource)



Value Added Tax Act 1994

The VAT Guide (Notice 700)

Practice notes and training sessions represent the Association of Legal Compliance & Accounts’ view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that firms can follow.

Practice notes and training sessions are not legal advice, and do not necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or poor service. While we have taken care to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, we will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s really simple:

  • Reduced cost
  • Can be watched anywhere, anytime on any device – no travel time or cost
  • Shorter and more efficient than face-to-face
  • Recorded and can be replayed at your leisure

Online – the Cons

On Demand is not for everyone one. People learn differently and watching a pre-recorded training video can feel very lonely and isolated. It requires strong, self-motivation and time management skills. There is no opportunity to ask a question and receive an answer straight away as you would with an online or a face-to-face workshop.

You can pose your question HERE or pose the question via the LiveChat widget.

No. In order to watch them, you must watch them whilst logged into the website.

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