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Article in The Times re 2 VAT reclaims for the same self build

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Did anyone else read this article dated 12 March?


Essentially, a couple moved into their not quite completed self build in 2015 & made a VAT reclaim within the usual 3 months of receiving their 1st council tax bill.  The VAT was repaid.


In 2019 they submitted a 2nd claim which included construction of internal walls, kitchen & bathrooms.  Unsurprisingly HMRC refused this claim - as we all know, you're only allowed 1 claim.


The couple appealed on the grounds that being allowed only 1 claim was unreasonable as many self builds take years to finish.  The judge at the first-tier tax tribunal allowed their appeal & granted permission to make a 2nd claim once the house is complete.


HMRC did not appeal but said it was an unique case - not something I would agree with!  Anyway, it seems like some kind of precedent (just my opinion as I have no legal training).



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I intend to submit a second application... as soon as the first is accepted and paid.


PS  I remember (whose? ) a post pointing out that precedent cannot be established at this level. 

Edited by ToughButterCup
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1 hour ago, ToughButterCup said:

PS  I remember (whose? ) a post pointing out that precedent cannot be established at this level. 

Yes a precedent cannot be set for a tribunal case and HMRC may choose to ignore the outcome. The tribunal judges do generally look at previous cases however and often quote them in their decision reasoning. That said judges can rule as they see fit having interpreted the law so it often depends on interpretation. HMRC can say whatever they like on a claim form or verbally but if their ‘guidance’ does not correspond to the legal position then it’s not valid. The tribunal will only make a judgment based on what is lawful although tribunals have been known to criticise HMRC quite heavily. 

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