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The Queen on the application of ELS Group v HMRC

In The Queen on the application of ELS Group v HMRC [2016] EWCA Civ 663 (5 July 2016) the Court of Appeal found that an extra-statutory concession (ESC) could not apply retrospectively.

ELS supplied lecturers to colleges. It applied for judicial review of the decision of HMRC not to allow it to take advantage of an ESC (outlined in Business Brief 10/04 (BB10/04) and now withdrawn) which limited the amount of VAT that a business was required to charge when seconding its own staff. The concession applied provided that the client paid the salaries of the staff supplied directly to the personnel involved. It meant that employment bureaux which provided self-employed staff as principals to their hirer clients could opt to be treated as agents and so limit the VAT payable for their services to the commission element of their charges.

ELS had restructured its business in...

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