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Brief 3/2023 and the special legal regime

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In Revenue & Customs Brief 3/2023, HMRC accepts that local authorities across the UK provide leisure services to members of the public under a ‘special legal regime’ such that they can apply non-business treatment for VAT purposes, as there would be no significant distortion of competition with private sector operators. Although the councils will be the immediate beneficiaries financially of this Brief, the principles in the underlying case law that led to this outcome could have wider implications, so all public bodies should review their own positions in terms of the supplies they provide to consider whether they could be entitled to refunds of overpaid VAT from HMRC and avoid the need to charge VAT in the future.

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