Commercial arm of RIBA disputing HMRC demand

The commercial arm of the RIBA has said it is still negotiating with the VAT man over a disputed tax bill of nearly £1.6 million.

RIBA Enterprises included a possible VAT repayment of £1.54 million as an exceptional item in its 2015 accounts.

The group, which is headed by chief executive Richard Waterhouse (pictured), said it is in talks with the VAT man over the long-running dispute which dates back to 2009 when it successfully claimed two VAT refunds totalling just over £2 million.

But the following year HMRC slapped a £1.54 million demand on the group which RIBA Enterprises then appealed.

Last March, the group put the sum into a third party account so that negotiations with HMRC could continue.

In its latest accounts for the year to December 2016, RIBA Enterprises said “the status of the refund has not yet been finalised and negotiations continue”.

The company, which has now completed refurbishing its office at Newcastle upon Tyne, said pre-tax profits for the year jumped 82% to £3.98 million while revenue edged up 4% to £24.3 million with demand for its BIM-related products helping nudge up turnover.

The number of people employed by the company, which also has staff at RIBA’s London office at 76 Portland Place, stayed flat at 251.

The salary of the highest-paid director, who is not named, went up from £242,000 to £249,500.