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Economic Indissolubility and Wearing the T-Shirt

Michael Conlon QC of Pump Court Tax Chambers considers the latest wisdom on single supply
The question of whether a transaction creates a single or multiple supply for VAT purposes has vexed practitioners tribunals and courts since the very beginning. It was memorably described as giving rise to special difficulties in the 'mystic twilight' of VAT legislation.1 The practical import is whether a package comprising several elements is liable to one or potentially several rates of tax. This may create planning opportunities; or lead to tax avoidance through value-shifting.
This year the VAT and Duties Tribunal clocks up an incredible 20 000 decisions on VAT since 1972. Many concern the single/multiple supply issue. The enduring fascination of VAT lies in its application to many different kinds of commercial...

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