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HMRC v News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd

In HMRC v News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 91 (28 January 2021) the Court of Appeal found in favour of HMRC that prior to 1 May 2020 (when the law was changed to extend the zero rating to digital newspapers and other digital publications) zero-rating did not extend to digital newspapers because as a matter of proper construction the zero-rating provision was at such time limited to physical newspapers and its scope could not be extended by the application of a principle of interpretation such as fiscal neutrality.

The Upper Tribunal had previously held that the term ‘newspapers’ for the purpose of zero-rating under VATA 1994 Sch 8 Group 3 item 2 included ‘digital news services’ i.e. the provision of news services in electronic form. The UT had reached its decision on the basis of the ‘always speaking’ principle that...

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