Alfred Artley – Tax Journal: Royal Opera House: VAT recovery

05 Jun 2020 By Alfred Artley

Undermining commercial reality?

The decision of the Upper Tribunal (UT) in HMRC v Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation [2020] UKUT 132 (TCC) will be a disappointment not just to the Royal Opera House (ROH), but the theatre industry more widely, particularly given the other problems which the sector is currently facing. However, even had the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) decision been upheld, HMRC might well have sought to confine the case to the unique circumstances of the ‘fully integrated’ operatic-cum-dining experience of a Covent Garden performance, and consequently have refused to allow theatres to attribute production costs to supplies of refreshments in their bars more generally.

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