Pringles are “similar to” crisps

21 May 2009

Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs v. Procter & Gamble [2009] EWCA Civ 407

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by HMRC and reinstated the decision of the VAT & Duties Tribunal that Pringles were both “made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch” and were “similar products” to potato crisps. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal concluded that Pringles were properly standard rated for VAT, falling within Excepted Item 5 to the zero-rating provision (Schedule 8, Group 1, VAT Act 1994). The main message from the Court was that an appeal court should be slow to interfere with a Tribunal’s classification of a product and that this sort of question is “not one calling for or justifying over-elaborate, almost mind-numbing legal analysis.”

Christopher Vajda QC and Raymond Hill were instructed by HMRC in the Court of Appeal. Raymond had previously appeared before the Tribunal and the High Court.

For the Court of Appeal’s judgment, please click here.

For further news on this case, please click here.

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Raymond Hill