Andrew Macnab, representing HMRC, successfully defends the Rank Group’s appeal to the Court of Appeal against HMRC’s refusal to repay a £67m VAT refund – *UPDATE*

26 Mar 2021
Andrew Macnab

The Rank Group plc v HM Revenue and Customs [2020] EWCA Civ 550, [2020] STC 1155

On 24 April 2020, the Court of Appeal dismissed Rank’s appeal against HMRC’s refusal to repay a £67m refund of VAT overpaid between 1996 and 2002.  The Court upheld, on different grounds, the decision of the Upper Tribunal [2019] UKUT 100 (TCC).  The Court rejected Rank’s attempt to circumvent the 4-year limitation period that had time-barred its earlier claims for those sums, made in 2011 under s.80(1) VATA.  In 2013, Rank made a new claim for a refund of those sums under s.80(1B), in combination with the set-off provisions of s.81(3) and (3A) and dicta in Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd v RCC [2014] 1 WLR 3867.  Rank argued that HMRC should have brought Rank’s out-of-time claim into account when calculating other, earlier, in-time s.80(1) claims; that, by failing to do so, HMRC had underpaid Rank £67m in respect of those in-time claims; and that HMRC’s underpayment of the £67m was to be construed as an overpayment by Rank of the same sum.

On 23 February 2021, the UK Supreme Court refused Rank’s application for permission to appeal.

Andrew Macnab represented HMRC throughout.  Read the full decision of the Court of Appeal here