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Leeds City Council v HMRC

In Leeds City Council v HMRC (FTC/27/2012 – 3 December 2013) Leeds City Council (‘Leeds’) sought to recover incorrectly paid VAT to HMRC. HMRC agreed that the sums paid did not represent VAT due to them but they refused to repay amounts for which Leeds accounted after 4 December 1996 on the grounds that the claims had been submitted after the new shorter three year time-limit had come into effect (VATA 1994 s 80).

The tribunal generally rejected Leeds’ argument that the three-year time limit did not apply as it did not strike a proper balance between the right of the state to achieve finality and the right of the taxpayer to assert and enforce his rights.

In particular the tribunal dismissed arguments that Leeds had been deprived of an effective remedy and of legal certainty. Leeds had not been harmed by the failure of the...

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