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21st January 2014

A recent case considered whether the supply of belly dancing lessons by an independent teacher could be treated as exempt from VAT.

The Appellant contended the VAT exemption for the supply of private tuition applied, however the Commissioners stated that the subject was not one which was ordinarily taught in a school or university and therefore the exemption could not apply. The Tribunal agreed with the Commissioners and ruled that the supplies of belly dancing tuition services by the independent teacher were subject to VAT. The Appellant was therefore liable to register for VAT.

This case once again demonstrates the complexities of the VAT exemption available for the supply of education and particularly private tuition. I am sure that we would all agree that dance is a subject that it ordinarily taught in a school or university and therefore the challenge that belly dancing is a form of dance is in our opinion completely valid. In fact, spending just five minutes researching the matter I noted Manchester University even offers a short course in Belly Dancing (starting 12th February if you are interested!).

The judgment in my opinion seems slightly unfair and I envisage that we will see many more cases similar to this in the near future. Education is evolving and many schools are offering subjects and vocational qualifications in areas that at one time would have never been considered an option. Perhaps this is an area that HMRC should consider further.

We recommend that if you have any uncertainty regarding the VAT liability of supplies of education then you should give our free helpline a call. It's advisable to act prudently and if you feel that your client's supplies may be VATable we may have prior rulings or correspondence with HMRC on the areas your client is involved in and could provide valuable input.

About the Author

The VAT People are leading VAT and Customs Duty consultants based in the North West of England. We work with a wide range of businesses throughout the UK as well as assisting our accountancy colleagues to unravel the thorny VAT issues for their clients. We are one of the UK's largest and most comprehensive sources of VAT and Customs advice, our consultancy team having over 140 years of experience in VAT and Customs gained in either HMRC or a Big 4 accountancy practice environment.

Call us on our VAT helpline 0800 077 4604 to discuss. All initial discussions are free with no-obligation.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-02-04 12:45:28 in Tax Articles

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