Charities and their advisers will be aware of the favourable zero rate VAT regime for reading material that has applied in the UK since the days of purchase tax. They will also know of the seemingly illogical stance of HMRC that this relief only applies to old fashioned physical print formats and not to modern digital formats. This has been a bone of contention for many years, and one conglomerate, News Corp UK & Ireland, has litigated over the issue to seek zero rating on the digital equivalents of their well-known newspapers. Read more by clicking here
Art or science?
If you want to research what actually happens in certain walks of life, VAT tribunal reports are a treasure trove. We learn about the purpose and activities behind pilates (Hocking  UKFTT 1034), belly dancing (Cheruvier  UKFTT 7), fortune telling (Indian Palmist (2003) VAT Decision 18397), and several more.
To this, and the others, we can add matchmaking services, brought to us by the case of Gray & Farrar International LLP  UKFTT 684.
That’s a grand sounding name, but, in reality, one person is responsible for providing the service, namely Claire Sweetingham, assisted by a small team. So, what kind of person is she and what is the service?
To read more (click here)
It is quite common in charity circles for helpful supporting individuals to become involved in assisting the charity in various ways. In some cases a fundraising event, such as a golf day, might be organised, year on year, by the same individual, all the proceeds of which go to that charity. Or a group of supporters, such as the PTA of a school, may sell things ‘for’ the school. Or an individual may run a catering or gift shop operation on the charity’s site, and provide the proceeds to the charity. To read more (click-here)
I have previously commented on the Yeshivas Lubavitch Manchester tribunal case in the context of whether a proposed use of a building is a ‘relevant charitable purpose’. However, the case also concerned whether the works in question created an ‘annexe’ as distinct from an ‘extension’ to an existing structure. For the zero rate to apply to the works, this condition also needed to be met. The First tier Tribunal decided that it had been, contrary to HMRC’s views. The case therefore provides interesting insight into HMRC’s attitude to various aspects of such cases. To read more: click here
I wrote a commentary on the curious case of the CASC that claimed it was a charity in order to benefit from charitable VAT relief on new building works. That related to the First tier Tribunal decision in Eynsham Cricket Club. This has now returned to the courts in the form of an Upper Tribunal decision (UKUT0286). The tortuous result is that the Club lost its appeal. The interesting aspect is the route to that result. To read more…click here
This commentary focuses on one of the defining planks of the ‘welfare’ exemption which applies (amongst others) to charities. The relevant provision relates to the ‘care or protection’ of children or young persons. The review is prompted by the Tribunal decision in Lilias Graham Trust (TC07346). Whereas the facts will be special to that charity (which has an unusual activity) the case makes some points which have a wider resonance. To read more, click here
In a judgement issued on 29 July, the court said taxpayers can deduct VAT incurred in purchasing the rights to a subsidy, in this case entitlements to Single Farm Payments (SFPs).
HMRC had refused to allow the farmer, Frank A Smart & Son Ltd (FASL), to deduct VAT of £1,054,852 in its returns between December 2008 and June 2012, arguing that the subsidy was unrelated to the creation of non-exempt supplies. FASL appealed to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) which ruled in its favour, finding that FASL intended when it purchased the entitlements to use the income from them to pay off its overdraft and develop the business. To read more – click here
In the wake of the court decisions in Longridge and Wakefield College we were wondering where the newly stricter conditions for defining ‘relevant charitable purpose’ left children’s care charities that had relied on the ancient precedents of Yarburgh and St Paul’s. HMRC did not withdraw their policy to the effect that such ‘creche’ charities could be regarded as carrying out relevant charitable purposes despite making charges, but this no longer appeared to align with the recent decisions, and the basic tenet on which they were based, the concept of ‘predominant concern’, had been clearly superseded. We awaited the next step… read more: click here
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has given what may prove to be the last binding decision on the UK regarding a case the UK courts have referred… read more: click here
Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (‘the charity’) has been involved in a long-running dispute with HMRC over the VAT treatment of charges made to disabled persons in running a payroll service. The scenario arises as follows.
A disabled person may need a carer. Where possible… To read more…