Case studies

High Court VAT appeals

Taxpayers wishing to appeal a decision of the VAT and Duties Tribunal must take their case to the High Court. Our dispute resolution team in London has strengthened its expertise in appeals of this type, acting for taxpayers in a series of high profile claims on behalf of accountants. Some have set significant precedents for future cases.

We represented Enron Europe in an appeal against the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and achieved a successful outcome for our client. In his judgment, Mr Justice Lightman held that a VAT assessment was invalid if it sought to impose a tax charge on payment that had not taken place in the prescribed accounting period. In Enron's case, no tax point had arisen for the purpose of the Value Added Tax Regulations 1995.

As a postscript, the judge added that it was unsatisfactory for the recovery of VAT to be dependent on the Commissioners determining correctly the date when a payment is made because in some cases the taxpayer may not be forthcoming with these details. In fairness to other taxpayers, such hurdles to the recovery of VAT should be eliminated.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP