Melanie Hall QC has successfully represented HM Revenue and Customs in two challenges, saving HM Treasury almost £20 billion.
Melanie Hall QC and Ewan West of Monckton Chambers represented HMRC in Sub One v HMRC, in which The Hon Mr Justice Arnold rejected a challenge made by 1,200 hot food outlets to the UK legislation on VAT payable on hot takeaway food. The outlets argued that the legislation, introduced by Thatcher, was contrary to EU law because it inevitably meant that hot food outlets were taxed differently depending on what was in the mind of the supplier when the food was heated. The Judge disagreed. The legislation did not breach EU law. He concluded that it was perfectly possible to assess the purpose for which food has been heated above ambient air temperature in a way that did not create inequality between competing food outlets.
Suppliers also attempted to blame HMRC for the inconsistent decisions made by the tribunals and the courts since 1987 when a pie maker called John Pimblett and Sons persuaded the Court of Appeal that he had not heated his pies for the purposes of enabling them to be consumed above ambient air temperature. The Judge concluded that no blame could be laid at the door of HMRC or the Government. The taxpayers have yet to announce whether they will appeal.
Melanie Hall QC also successfully represented HMRC in Patersons of Greenoakhill v HMRC, when resisting a challenge to the Landfill Tax by hundreds of site operators in the test case.
The basis of the challenge was that the tax was not payable in circumstances where the methane, produced as part of the process of biodegradation, was converted into electricity.
To read the judgment in Sub One v HMRC, please click here.
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