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EMI Group plc v HMRC

The ECJ has delivered its judgment in EMI Group plc v HMRC (ECJ Case C-581/08). A music company distributed free copies of CDs for promotional purposes. It had accounted for VAT on these in accordance with VATA 1994 Sch 4 para 5. Subsequently it formed the view that the effect of Article 5(6) of the EC Sixth VAT Directive was that it need not have accounted for VAT on these CDs. In 2003 it submitted a repayment claim for more than £1 600 000 backdated to 1987. HMRC rejected the claim and the company appealed. The Tribunal directed that the case should be referred to the ECJ for rulings on the interpretation of Article 5(6) of the EC Sixth Directive.

The ECJ held that a ‘sample’ was ‘a specimen of a product which is intended to promote the sales of that product and which allows the characteristics and...

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