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VAT repayment taxable?

2024 business resolutions

You may be interested to know that the answer to the title of this post is yes, if certain conditions apply, a repayment of VAT is a taxable receipt. Consider the following tax case where VAT was charged by mistake.

Shop Direct Group discovered that they had accounted for VAT on a large number of transactions in error. As a result HMRC repaid a significant amount of VAT and included statutory interest. As the repayment was a refund of VAT previously paid the group treated the receipts as outside the scope of corporation tax.

HMRC disagreed. They contended that the repayment of VAT arose out of the Group’s trading activities and should be included in their self-assessment for corporation tax purposes: it was a trading receipt. They also sought to tax the statutory interest receipt under normal corporation tax rules.

Shop Direct Group appealed this decision and both the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal dismissed their appeals.

Readers should note that the decision in this case does not mean that refunds of VAT arising from reclaimed VAT input tax are taxable.  Shop Direct Group received their VAT refund as they had incorrectly accounted for VAT on certain retail sales.   

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