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HMRC v British Film Institute

In HMRC v British Film Institute ([2014] UKUT 0370 – 12 August 2014) the UT found that Directive 77/388/EEC art 13A(1)(n) had a direct effect (i.e. it could be relied upon against UK legislation) between 1 January 1990 and 31 May 1996 (the ‘claim period’).

Article 13A(1)(n) exempted supplies of ‘certain cultural services and goods closely linked thereto by bodies governed by public law or other cultural bodies recognised by the member state concerned’. During the claim period UK domestic legislation did not provide exemption for cultural services; the BFI accounted for VAT at the standard rate on the sale of tickets for admission to screenings of films. The issue was whether the terms of article 13A(1)(n) were sufficiently clear and precise for it to have direct effect and did not permit the member states any latitude or discretion in its application. The answer turned on the meaning...

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