Electronic submission of VAT returns
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23rd October 2013
A partnership of beekeepers were also members of the Seventh Day
Adventist Church. The Appellants believed that a certain passage of the
Bible required them not to use electric devices and consequently they
did not submit their VAT returns electronically.
The Appellants claimed exemption from on-line filing of the returns on
religious grounds. The Appellant appealed against HMRC's refusal of the
claim finding that the Church did not consider their beliefs to be
incompatible with the use of electronic communications. The Tribunal
decided that, if seen purely as a question of the normal rules of
construction and without reference to the effect of the Human Rights
Act 1998, the Appellants were not entitled to the religious exemption.
However, the requirement to file online was a restriction on the
Appellant's right to manifest their religion within Art 9(1) of the
European Convention on Human Rights, and the restriction was not
justified within Art 9(2). Therefore, the Appellant's appeal was
There have also been four similar VAT appeals where the Appellants were
unable to submit VAT returns on-line. The Tribunal allowed three of the
appeals as it ruled that HMRC's requirement that VAT returns must be
submitted on-line was disproportionate as it failed to provide an
exemption for elderly individuals, disabled persons or persons living
too remotely for reliable internet access.
The above cases will be of interest if you have any clients
that experience real difficulties filing VAT returns on-line.
About the Author
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 2013-10-30 09:12:30 in Tax Articles
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