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HMRC v BT: reclaiming bad debt relief under the old scheme

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In the latest instalment of the claims for historic bad debt relief, the Court of Appeal has ruled against BT, effectively finding that its chance to claim relief under the ‘old scheme’ has passed. BT had argued that the provisions of the ‘old scheme’ were ultra vires and that taxpayers have a directly effective right to claim relief under art 11 of the Sixth Directive. Whilst agreeing that taxpayers did have a directly effective right to relief, BT had adequate opportunity to exercise this right before the old scheme was rescinded. The fact that BT didn’t know of the existence of this right before the removal of the scheme was of no assistance in deciding whether BT had an adequate opportunity to enforce it.

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