Hot Take-away food – potential for refunds of VAT

Following a recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) Decision regarding the VAT treatment of certain food items in Germany Manfred Blog and 3 others won their argument that certain hot take-away foods should be lower rated for VAT purposes and this should always have been the case.

As a result of this ruling HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rushed to release their Business Brief  19/11. In the UK they say its business as usual.

However, the UK as always is legally bound to follow the European Court Judgments.

The case revolved around the definitions applied to food as a supply of goods rather than a supply of services. The ECJ decided that where there is a limited preparation such as cooking the food in response to a specific order from a customer and the food is taken away to be eaten that supply was one of goods and not services. A supply of catering services would also include as well as the cooking the provision of tables and chairs, knives and forks and creating an environment for the enjoyment of the food etc.

We consider that there may be opportunities for the likes of fish and chip shops, kebab shops, kiosks, burger vans etc who may in the future benefit from a reduction in the rate of VAT but in the meantime they need to protect any potential refund back for a period of 4 years.

This means that a protective claim should be submitted to HMRC, this will of course be rejected and an application must then be made to a Tribunal following some of the big fast food chains who have already submitted their claims.

We can help you by

  • calculating your claim,
  • submitting the claim  to HMRC,
  • dealing with the rejection of the claim,
  • lodging your Appeal to the Tribunal and dealing with the necessary technical and legal arguments

on a no win, no fee basis.

This means that our fee will come from any refunds you receive from HMRC regardless of how long it takes you to receive the refunds.

Why choose us?

We have vast experience and many  clients who have taken their cases to the Tribunal and beyond to the European Court of Justice. We are fully supported by leading VAT Barristers and a QC who are on hand to assist with  the legalities.”

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