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R (oao Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge)

The Whitchurch Bridge Act 1792 established a company (W) to build and maintain a toll bridge over the River Thames. It was accepted that the tolls which W charged were exempt from VAT. In R (oao Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge) (QB – 13 December) W applied to the Treasury to be included as a ‘specified body’ under VATA 1994 s 33(3)(k) so that it could claim refunds of VAT. The Treasury rejected the application and W applied for judicial review. The QB rejected this application. Burnett J held that the Treasury had been entitled to decide that bodies which had no power to levy local taxation should not be specified under s 33(3)(k).

Why it matters: The QB accepted the Treasury’s contention that it was not obliged to treat the applicant as a specified body within VATA...

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