FINANCE NEWS: Customs gives way over law to extend VAT rebate periods

Customs and Excise has confirmed that charities that had VAT rebate claims cut off by a disputed three-year time cap can now resubmit claims.

Customs lost a European Court of Justice case on VAT repayments last month. The court found that it had no right to retrospectively introduce a time cap on backdating repayments before 1996 (Third Sector, 7 August).

But the court ruled that the time cap would have been legal if accompanied by a transitional period for claims. Customs has now introduced a nine-month transitional period retrospectively.

Charities that made capped claims before April 1997 can now resubmit the claims. While organisations that did not make a claim but can demonstrate that they discovered the error before April 1997 can also seek a rebate.

But claims made after April 1997 cannot be resubmitted.

Charities that think they might be eligible have until 31 March 2003 to make a claim.

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