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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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In July 2012, legislation was passed which allows universities and higher education (HE) colleges to form CSGs that can provide services to the HE sector free of VAT. CSGs can provide services more cost-effectively than individual HE institutions, and the exemption from VAT now means that substantial savings can be made. 

The new rules on VAT exemptions for CSGs were introduced in the 2012 Finance Act, following lobbying by the HE and charity sectors. This legislation is complex, so HEFCE has been working with the British Universities Finance Directors Group and Universities UK to develop guidance to help clarify the rules. 

The guidance sets the context of the cost sharing exemption for HE. It will help existing providers of services to understand the issues which must be addressed to take advantage of the exemption, while identifying areas of service which are not liable to VAT and therefore do not need to be delivered through CSGs. It also examines areas which are being clarified by the experience of groups currently establishing CSGs. 

The guidance is web-based and will be updated as further information becomes available. Case studies will be added in the autumn.