(01233) 653500 (01233) 653500

Monday to Friday
from 08:30 to 17:00
Our products

The Most Important VAT Cases: And Why You Need to Know Them

A Tips & Advice Special Report about...

In a nutshell

This Special Report summarises the most relevant VAT cases heard by the courts and tribunals over the past 50 years. We’ve selected just the cases that impact the day-to-day VAT challenges your business faces. You’ll see how past decisions affect your business and learn how to get the VAT treatment right in tricky grey areas.

In detail

VAT will be 50 years old on 1 April 2023. During the last 49 years, there have been many Tribunal cases to help businesses and their advisors correctly deal with VAT.

Our Special Report covers the most important ones and breaks each case down into easy-to-digest sections:

  • Background facts: what’s the case about?
  • Relevant law: which rules apply?
  • Outcome: what was decided and why?
  • Significance: how is the case still significant for your business?

We’ve also added examples of how a decision might be used in practical situations. And where available, there’s a link to the published decision.

All cases are classified under familiar headings such as partial exemption and HMRC powers - enablling you to quickly navigate your way to those that are of most interest to you.

We've created this Tips & Advice Special Report especially for... 

Every business owner that wants to:

  • Have an overview of the most relevant VAT cases
  • Put the outcomes into practice
  • Avoid trouble with HMRC
  • Confidently deal with their own VAT administration

Tax and VAT advisors, bookkeepers and accountants that want to:

  • Have a better understanding of VAT legislation
  • Correctly advise their clients by taking  account of decisions in related cases

In this Tips & Advice Special Report you'll read about...

Part 1 – Input tax

1. Input tax and legal fees

2. Input tax and buying a new car

3. Input tax and “business purpose”

4. Input tax: who is receiving a supply of goods or services?

5. Input tax on goods given away without charge

Part 2 – Output tax

1. Mixed supplies

2. Three party transactions

3. VAT exemption for private tuition

4. Online sales: agent v principal

5. Bad debt or credit note?

Part 3 – HMRC powers

1. Business splitting

2. Output tax due on sales suppressed by pub

3. “Best judgement” assessment - was it flawed?

4. Assessment time limits

5. Power to backdate registration date

Part 4 – VAT registration

1. Intending trader status and VAT registration

2. Was backdating of VAT registration date possible?

3. Late VAT registration and reasonable excuse

4. Deregistration and output tax on assets

5. Pre-registration input tax claim

Part 5 – International VAT issues

1. Management services to overseas company: Were they business supplies?

2. Export evidence for zero-rating

3. International services and dating agency: what is consultancy?

4. Reverse charge: were builder services bought from a UK or overseas supplier?

Part 6 – Land and property

1. Did salon rent out rooms or provide facilities to tenants?

2. Was a new epilepsy centre used for a relevant charitable purpose?

3. Did converting two flats into a house qualify for 5% VAT on building work?

4. Option to tax election procedural issues

Part 7 – Errors and penalties

1. Deliberate error: excluding property sale from VAT return

2. Was penalty rate of 204% for careless errors reasonable?

3. Was £217,000 default surcharge reasonable for paying VAT five days late?

Part 8 – Partial exemption

1. Partial exemption and attribution of input tax

2. Was expenditure on animals linked to taxable sales?

3. Was a partial exemption special method fair and reasonable?

Part 9 – Business or non-business

1. Was there a business?

2. Was a new bridge linked to any business supplies made by the cathedral?

3. Was there a business activity taking place?

Part 10 – Flat rate scheme

1. What was the correct flat rate scheme percentage?

2. Staying in the flat rate scheme, despite exceeding exit limit

You can choose from the following options...


  • The hard copy version
  • Keep it on your desk or use it whenever you're offline


  • The PDF-version
  • Delivered to your inbox

Take a look at your options below.

Printed version



Printed version




Special subscribers' offer



Only if you already have a subscription

Standard offer




Special subscribers' offer



Only if you already have a subscription

Standard offer




Got a question?
Call Customer Services

(01233) 653500