VAT Tribunal interim rules in Rank’s favour

The Rank Group Plc („Rank“) is pleased to note today’s interim decision from the VAT and Duties Tribunal („The Tribunal“). The Tribunal has ruled that, from November 2003 at least, the UK‘s Value Added Tax („VAT“) treatment of certain types of gaming machine was inconsistent with European Union rules concerning fiscal neutrality. This resulted in an overpayment of VAT by Rank.

Rank’s claim for repayment of overdeclared VAT may be worth as much as GBP 25m. The claim was submitted to HM Revenue and Customs („HMRC“) in 2005. It relates to the fact that, prior to December 2005, certain types of gaming machine were exempt from VAT while similar gaming machines were subject to VAT.

This is an interim decision and a second stage of the litigation is due to be listed for later this year. The Tribunal has indicated that there is a strong likelihood that the case will be referred to the European Court of Justice. As such it is unlikely that there will be any material benefit to Rank in the current year.