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And another DIY self-build Tribunal decision!

5th May 2020
VAT Consultant vatadvice.org
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One HMRC representative told me (late last year) that more than half of all appeals were DIY claims. So it is no surprise that we are seeing decisions reported fairly frequently.

The case of Neil Proffitt includes a thorough review of previous decisions, so provides a useful resource. This includes a comment (in para 23) that, at some time since 2016, HMRC changed their policy on how they treat the date of ‘completion.’ Whilst this is in line with some specific case law, it has caused huge difficulty for claimants. In para 26, the decision comments that it is difficult to determine precisely the date of completion in relation to a DIY claim.

The decision briefly referred to a case I presented, and then moved on quickly because it was decided on its own specific facts (paras 31-32, if you want to check!).

Para 34 contains a significant conclusion, that the word ‘completion’ in the legislation (Reg 201(a)) does not have any special meaning. The decision goes on (para 35) to suggest an approach to this slippery issue: “We consider that for a dwelling to be complete, it must be finished in accordance with the plans for which planning permission was given, and that the dwelling must be able to fulfil its intended purpose.  We consider that the primary purpose of a dwelling is to function as a safe, hygienic and habitable home.

Further, occupation, it said, is not a helpful indicator of a building being complete. The claimant might often live in the dwelling whilst finishing off the construction (para 36).     

The decision also criticises HMRCs approach to look at the dates of the invoices to try to identify when a building is complete (para 37).

Para 40 seems to follow HMRC guidance at VCONST02530 and the previous comments in para 35: “We consider that the more useful factors for determining the date of completion are when the relevant building has been built in accordance with the relevant planning permission, when it meets the requirements of the Building Regulations and when it is compliant with all other legal obligations for a dwelling.

The full decision is here: www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKFTT/TC/2020/TC07614.html

 

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