Tax Prof Blog wrote:
Church of Scientology Wins Huge UK VAT Case
Interesting article in today's Telegraph: Scientology Tax Victory Could Cost Revenue Millions, by Harry Wallop:
The Church of Scientology has won a VAT ruling that tax experts say could cost HM Revenue & Customs "hundreds of millions of pounds." The VAT Tribunal has ruled that Revenue & Customs has to pay back the organisation at least £4.1m in past payments.
Tribunal chairman David Williams also issued an unprecedented rebuke to HMRC as part of his ruling, calling the VAT authority's handling of the case "frankly inadequate, if not inept".
The ruling is a victory for Scientology, whose members include film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The tribunal ruled in favour of the Scientologists because of a crucial test case earlier this year involving Michael Fleming, an Aston Martin dealer and descendant of the James Bond author Ian Fleming.
His case forced the Government to abandon its position that people could take their VAT claims back only three years. This case is the first time that the scrapping of time limitations has been tested. Now, in theory, if you have overpaid VAT you can claim back right to when the tax was introduced in 1973.