Glasgow School of Art

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A few weeks before the fire destroyed one of its buildings, the Glasgow School of Arts (GSA) suffered defeat at the Tax Tribunal.

They spent around £21m on a building project, and apparently did not take professional VAT advice. The result was a series of significant VAT reverses at Tribunal, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

1. At the time of Completion, GSA asked for supplies of construction services to be re-invoiced as two separate supplies, to improve its input tax recovery. They considered that the works related to two different buildings. This was not the primary argument at FTT, but the Tribunal did not accept this argument.

2. It seems that GSA tried to engineer a taxable business supply to improve its input tax recovery. This included a lease issued from GSA to the Student Union. The problem was that the value attributed to the lease was of wholly non-commercial value. The Tribunal held that this was therefore a non-business activity, and input tax was not deductible.

3. Further, the taxpayer’s Capital Goods Scheme method was rejected. This meant, presumably, that future input tax adjustments would not be beneficial.

You can read the decision here:

About Les Howard


Hi, I am a VAT Consultant, working mainly with charities. I am based in Cambridgeshire

I have over 20 years experience in VAT, and am currently also a part-time member of the Tax Tribunals.


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