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CI Cruises International SA v HMRC

In CI Cruises International SA v HMRC (TC01598 – 6 December) a company (C) reclaimed input tax of more than £111 000 in respect of a launch party for a new cruise ship. HMRC rejected the claim on the basis that this constituted ‘business entertainment’. C appealed contending that the party should be treated as a product demonstration or as advertising services. The Tribunal rejected these contentions and dismissed the appeal. Judge Khan observed that ‘the fact that an event can be described as a product demonstration does not prevent it being treated as business entertainment since the definition of business entertainment includes "hospitality of any kind" which makes the definition very wide’.

Why it matters: The Tribunal upheld HMRC’s view that the party was ‘business entertainment’ so that the input tax was not deductible.

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