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Littlewoods Retail Ltd v HMRC (and related applications)

In Littlewoods Retail Ltd v HMRC (and related applications) (ECJ Case C-591/10) several retail companies claimed a repayment of VAT on the basis that commission which they paid to agents should have been treated as a discount. HMRC accepted the claims in principle (while disputing the amounts of the claims) and made repayments with interest under VATA 1994 s 78. The companies took court proceedings in the QB contending that the effect of the HL decision in IRC v Sempra Metals Ltd [2007] STC 1559 was that they were entitled to compound interest. The Ch D heard the companies’ claims and directed that the case should be referred to the ECJ for guidance on whether VATA 1994 ss 78 and 80 were compatible with European law. (Vos J expressed the view that the statutory regime for the payment of simple interest on overpayments should...

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