The first case concerned overall eligibility for a DIY Reclaim. Whilst Mr & Mrs Treanor had been granted permission for a residential unit, it was limited to occupation and use with an adjoining workshop. Whilst the Tribunal sympathised with the Treanors, they found that HMRC were correct to reject the claim as being a ‘live-work’ unit and not passing the test of ‘being designed as a dwelling’.
HMRC have not been able to finalise their review of salary sacrifice lease cars in the NHS to date, but have recognised the need to address the situation by issuing some interim guidance which should be implemented from the October return.
On 24th March, HMRC released a policy paper confirming that the Prime Minister has secured agreements with other officials at the March European Council to welcome increased flexibility for member states in relation to the zero and reduced rates of VAT. Whilst this was primarily related to the abolition of the ‘tampon tax’ – the increased flexibility could present an opportunity for the UK to reconsider other demands – like the ECJ ruling which suggested that the reduced rate on energy saving materials was in breach of EU laws.
HMRC have today released further clarification to be read in conjunction with the October 2015 ‘HMRC COS Guidance for government departments and NHS bodies (2nd tranche)’ document. There are not many surprises in this document, and below is a summary of the key points:
We reported previously on the likelihood of Energy Saving Materials losing their 5% VAT rate following the European Court’s ruling against the UK. This is where the UK was found in breach of the EU VAT Directive in that the 5% rate was applied too generously and primarily failed the ‘social’ aspect of the VAT relief.
HMRC have begun a consultation process that inevitably will lead to the removal of the 5% VAT rate – or in certain circumstances retention of the rate but only where the ‘as part of a social policy’ aspect can be met. The proposal is for the relief to be allowed for those in receipt of benefits, over the age of 60 or for specific types of buildings – housing associations and group style accommodation such as care homes and similar.
On 29 July 2015, HMRC confirmed in a letter to all NHS Trusts that the normal ‘tax point’ rules should be applied from 1 April 2016 at the latest. This extension was provided to recognise the challenges Trusts may face in changing accounting systems and processes where previously VAT accounting was based on payment dates. Normally, the tax point of a supply is the invoice date.
Lin Homer, HMRCs CEO has announced she will be leaving the organisation in April 2016. She has been recognised for her achievements whilst at HMRC including the reduction of the tax gap and tax credits error and fraud (both to records lows) and the introduction of an ambitious transformation programme to digitalise services for HMRC and taxpayers. George Osbourne has commented: “She has put the foundations in place that will see HMRC become one of the most digitally-advanced tax authorities in the world. It is to Lin’s great credit that the National Audit Office last year judged HMRC to be one of the strongest Departments in Government – a legacy of which she can be rightly proud.”