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In recent conversations with HMRC’s VAT helpline this firm has been informed that, due to the current coronavirus pandemic and the resulting staffing issues, HMRC’s helpline is currently staffed by the next available HMRC call centre handler, even if VAT is not their primary area of expertise.
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During the most recent Budget, it was announced that VAT applied to certain e-publications was to be scrapped, with supplies of qualifying items to be liable to the zero rate of VAT from 1st December 2020 to reflect the VAT treatment of their physical counterparts. HMRC have announced that this change has been brought forward and is now effective from 1st May 2020. Up to this date, supplies of e-publications are liable to the standard rate of VAT.
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The deferral of VAT payments between 20 March – 30 June 2020 provides an opportunity for businesses who are liable to register for UK VAT but have not yet submitted the registration application. Any business who were to register for VAT and submit a first return with a payment due to HMRC between 20 March and 30 June would receive automatic time to pay until March 2021. This would only apply for payments due in the period.
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In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, HMRC have announced the option for businesses to defer VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and as such, VAT due to HMRC from that period will now be due on or before the 31st March 2021.
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Although not related to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is apt that a recent European Court of Justice case dealt with the VAT treatment of medical consultations held by phone. Specifically, a German company X-GmbH provided medical advice over the phone to those affected by long-term illnesses.
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In the case of Corte Diletto UK Ltd, the Appellant argued that their product “Nouri Health Balls” qualified for zero-rating as a cake. HMRC disagreed and contended that the product should in fact be standard-rated as confectionary.
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Moulsdale Properties appealed a decision by the First-Tier Tribunal to uphold an option to tax on a property, resulting in its sale being taxable for VAT purposes. On appeal, the case was heard by the Upper Tribunal.
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The government has announced that a system of postponed accounting (with VAT declared/recovered via the VAT return and not physically paid at the point of import) will be introduced for all goods imported into the UK by VAT registered businesses from 1 January 2021.
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