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HMRC v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

In HMRC v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services [2015] EWCA Civ 1211 (26 November 2015) the Court of Appeal decided to refer to the CJEU the question of whether a financing agreement was a contract for the sale of goods or for the supply of services.

The issue was the tax treatment of ‘Agility hire purchase contracts’ entered into between Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK (MBFS) and its customers in respect of the supply of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The appeal turned on whether the Agility contracts were supplies of services as contended by MBFS or supplies of goods as HMRC argued. This depended on the correct interpretation of the Principal VAT Directive art 14.

An Agility agreement like a hire purchase agreement provided for a term of leasing with an option to purchase at the end; however it differed from a hire purchase agreement in that...

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