Letter from Yvette Gayford, Director,
Parents and Children Together (Pact)
I would like to draw the following issue to
the Committee's attention. There appears to be a degree of confusion
regarding the application of VAT on the payment of Intercountry
Adoption Fees. These are fees payable by applicants for preparation
workshops and the production of the Form F and for presentation
at Panel of their adoption application.
Parents And Children Together is one of the
largest Approved Overseas Adoption Agencies and we undertake work
for eleven Local and Unitary Authorities. We have recently been
advised that our adopters will now be obliged to pay VAT on their
fees as this is not perceived by our local Customs and Excise
Office to be a "welfare provision".
As the Government are about to implement the
Hague Convention it seems odd that a further obstacle should be
placed in the way of would be adopters to going through the correct
channels. I have appealed to the Department of Health for clarification
on this matter but regrettably they have stated that they cannot
intervene in the work of another Department. In addition they
are concerned that the question of VAT on the domestic Interagency
Fee may also be raised. If this were to be the case then Voluntary
Adoption Agencies would be involved in further unnecessary administration
because Local Authorities would reclaim any VAT charged by them.
It would be most helpful if all adoption fee
activity both domestic and overseas could be regarded as zero-rated
for VAT purposes and that this could be written into the new legislation.
The provision of Social Work reports on the suitability of people
to adopt children must surely be regarded as a "Welfare Provision"
and also a very important aspect of Child Protection.
If the Committee require any further information
on this issue please do not hesitate to contact me.