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British Telecommunications Plc v HMRC

In British Telecommunications Plc v HMRC [2021] EWHC 1095 (Ch) (28 April 2021) the High Court struck out the majority of a restitution claim made by BT against HMRC.

HMRC had applied to strike out a restitution claim made by BT against HMRC for unjust enrichment. The claim concerned the period 1 January 1978 to 31 March 1989. It related in essence to historic bad debt relief to which BT argued it was entitled under European law but to which UK law had (at the time in question) failed to give effect.

Since 1 October 1978 there had been domestic UK legislation allowing taxpayers to claim VAT bad debt relief when their customers failed to pay for goods and services. However in the first nine months of the claim period there was no UK statutory scheme for bad debt relief.

In respect of the...

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