Independent VAT Consultant
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Dance classes
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VAT: HMRC wins in dance class encore

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The upper tribunal has agreed that fees paid for Ceroc dancing classes are not exempt from VAT. Neil Warren explains why this outcome was expected.

16th Mar 2021
Independent VAT Consultant
Columnist
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Consistent case law

A tricky challenge in the tax world is when different tribunal decisions seem to contradict each other.

For example, we recently had different views from the courts about the VAT treatment of optional extras in two separate cases. The first concerned the hiring of a child’s car seat at the same time as a car, and in the second case the question was whether an extra payment for the hire of children’s skates was part of a single standard rated supply of admission to the rink.

The facts seemed similar in both cases and the appeals system eventually produced the same outcomes: the seats and skates were both subject to VAT in their own right as optional extras. That was a relief.  

Private tuition

The latest decision that has given us consistency is the upper tribunal’s verdict in the case of Anna Cook [2021] BVC503 and the issue of whether Ceroc dancing classes qualified for VAT exemption as private tuition (VATA 1994, Sch 9, Group 6, Item 2).

The UT ruled in favour of HMRC, confirming that it was not a subject that was “ordinarily taught in a school or university.” This overruled an earlier decision of the FTT that the fees were exempt (see Taxpayer dances to surprise VAT victory). 

Why am I pleased with this outcome?

Past decisions

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Replies (3)

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By dancer
16th Mar 2021 22:35

The UT was wrong to say that "Ceroc" is a type of dance. To say it's a type or form of dance is to claim that Tesco is a type of shopping e.g. "I'll be back later, I'm going Tescoing".

Ceroc is just the brand name for a company that teaches dance lessons.

Perhaps not all schools, but many schools (especially primary schools) do teach dancing.

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By Roland195
17th Mar 2021 07:38

As I understand it, both yoga and pilates are both routinely taught in schools as an alternative to the more traditional PE lessons responsible for turning generations of children off physical activities for life, along with a host of other options - coding etc.

In practice, I doubt many yoga/pilates teachers come close to turning over £85k though.

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By samwebstudio
17th Mar 2021 12:27

Thanks for the update

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