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Procedures for VAT and other taxes

23rd Dec 2021
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We don’t only have to deal with the question of VAT liabilities but also the processes. And, to keep us advisers on our toes, different taxes have different processes. What are you doing, Office for Tax Simplification!?

So, I found myself reading the FTT decision in Belkin Ltd, you know, those people who make the most useful USB devices. The appeal concerned the customs classification of four products. Or, how much more would the products cost to bring to market in the UK? And how much more do we have to pay for those most useful devices?

HMRC made Binding Tariff Information (BTI) decisions on each product. Belkin asked for a review, which HMRC upheld (don’t they always!?). Belkin then appealed to the Tax Tribunal. Although the question, for each product, was the applicable category, there were other nuances.

One important question is to determine the Tax Tribunal’s jurisdiction, as this does vary. The decision makes it clear that, in this case, the FTT has jurisdiction to uphold or quash or vary HMRC’s BTI decision. (There are situations where the FTT cannot do that and has to send the matter back to HMRC for a fresh decision.) Usually, it is the taxpayer’s onus to identify the FTT’s jurisdiction and to make its case accordingly.

There was a brief comment on the applicability of EU law, since the cases was heard during 2021, the UK no longer being in the EU. Again, taxpayers will need to be aware of the various EU Exit Regulations, and act accordingly.

The FTT found in part for Belkin. But we are not told the applicable duty rates for any of the products in question.

No reference to VAT at all!

But interestingly, nevertheless.

And the Tribunal’s bundles of documents exceeded 5,000 pages. These are all in electronic format now, so much better for the environment.

Happy Christmas!

www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKFTT/TC/2021/TC08195.html

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