HMRC find themselves stuck in a bunker. There are two ways in which this might be true. They could be holed up in an underground shelter awaiting the same fate as befell Hitler (and at risk of sliding into similar insanity) or their little round ball could be in a sand pit, defying each attempt to be clubbed onto the green. In HMRC’s case, both of these are true.
I often think that VAT is interesting mostly for what I learn, in passing, from clients and from case reports about goings on in the world. By means of reading cases I have learnt interesting commercial facts about part exchange of cars, about car lease business models, about the financial position of local authority parking, and about park and ride. And these are only examples relating to cars. There is much else besides. Continue reading
This morning, representatives of the press are off to the High Court to seek an injunction to stop the sealing of the cross party Royal Charter on press regulation, which was due to take place today. Continue reading
We have become increasingly familiar with the call upon taxpayers to pay an amount of tax which fulfils their moral obligations in addition to an arguably different legal obligation, and thus to ensure that the overall amount of tax payable is commensurate with what is assumed, by somebody or other, to be the financial scale of the business operation. This concept is clearly not aimed at evasion, since evasion is not merely immoral but also plainly illegal. It is aimed at avoidance which could be legal but may arguably not be moral, or merely the adopting of certain legal interpretations, which increasingly has been suggested as somehow potentially immoral if it leads to ‘too little tax’ being paid through a given scale of business operation.
It was only a few days ago, at a Withers reception, that I was talking to what one might describe as a ‘small taxpayer’, who had been embroiled in an appeal to the Tribunal over a trifling sum of £40,000 of VAT. As it turned out, she won her appeal, without the assistance of a professional advocate, because HMRC had misinterpreted the VAT legislation. The professional fee insurers were not prepared to back her, so she could not afford representation. Continue reading