International Cases Update – May 2013

In May 2013 the following VAT decisions were handed down in the UK. My research disclosed no GST cases in New Zealand or Canada of significance.

It is noteworthy that each of the decisions handed down in the UK dealt with, in at least some way, the question of single/multiple supplies and the proper characterisation of transactions. An analysis of the cases shows that in the UK the legal principles to be applied appear to be reasonably settled, but what is clear is that each case is very fact sensitive.

This month I have looked in detail at the decision of the Upper Tribunal in HMRC v The Honourable Society of Middle Temple [2013] UKUT 250.

The issue in this case was whether the supply of cold water to barristers’ chambers (for which a separate supply was charged) formed part of a single supply of the leased premises or the separate supply of water. The case provides a detailed analysis of the legal principles to be applied in the UK with respect to the single/multiple supply issue. As noted by the Upper Tribunal, there is no absolute rule and each case is very fact sensitive.

Noting the reservations of Australia Courts with regard to relying on overseas authorities in taxation cases, these legal principles have been accepted and applied by the Federal Court in cases such as Saga Holidays and also by the Commissioner in various rulings. This decision helpfully brings those principles together and provides an update on the current position of the law in the UK.

My case analysis can be accessed here.

United Kingdom

Upper Tribunal

  • WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC v HMRC [2013] UKUT 247 – VAT – supply of disposable barbecues – whether VAT chargeable at a reduced rate on the charcoal element of the supply – reduced rate of VAT on solid fuel pursuant to Schedule 7A Group 1 Item 1(a) VATA 1994 – Commission v France Case C-94/09 considered – interaction with Card Protection Plan v C & E Case C-349/96 considered – significance of charcoal being a concrete and specific aspect of the supply – appeal dismissed.
  • HMRC v The Honourable Society of Middle Temple [2013] UKUT 250 – VAT – grant of lease of commercial premises with provision of cold water – whether single supply of leasing of immovable property or independent supplies of property and water – single supply of immovable property – appeal allowed

First Tier Tribunal

  • National Exhibition Centre Ltd v Revenue & Customs [2013] UKFTT 289 – VAT – financial services – exemption – Article 13B(d)(3) Sixth VAT Directive –  Group 9 sch 5 VATA 1994 – booking fees on concert ticket purchases – identity of supplier – nature of services supplied – whether for processing of payment by credit and debit cards  –  whether debt collection service
  • Nuffield Health v Revenue & Customs [2013] UKFTT 291 – VAT – Whether provision of pharmaceutical supplies and/or supply of and surgical fitting of prosthesis to patients were part of a single exempt supply or zero-rated for the purposes of the legislation (Value Added Tax Act 1983) – If a single exempt supply whether the provision of drugs and prosthesis should nevertheless be zero-rated as a result of the application of the legislation and Talacre Beach Sales v Customs and Excise Cmmrs. (C-251/05)

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