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HMRC v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK

In HMRC v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK (Case C-164/16) (31 May 2017) the advocate general (AG) considered that the Principal VAT Directive article 14(2)(b) should be interpreted as applying only to those leasing agreements which offer the certainty that in the normal course of events following the end of the agreement term ownership of the leased asset will generally be transferred to the lessee.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) offers financial products related to the use and acquisition of vehicles: leasing; hire purchase; and a mixed agreement called ‘Agility’. It was accepted that leasing agreements are supplies of services and that hire purchase agreements are supplies of goods. The issue was the classification of the Agility agreements.

Under an Agility agreement following the expiry of the lease term the lessee had the option to purchase the vehicle subject to payment of the final amount which...

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