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Spring 2020 review

1. News Corp UK & Ireland: are digital newspapers newspapers?

In News Corp UK & Ireland v HMRC [2019] UKUT 404 (24 December 2019) the Upper Tribunal found that digital versions of newspapers fell within VATA 1994 Sch 8 Group 3 item 2 and were therefore zero-rated. (Reported in Tax Journal 10 January 2020.)

Why it matters

This decision has wide-ranging implications beyond the realm of newspapers. In particular the UT rejected the First-tier Tribunal’s finding that the fact that an enactment is designed to be restrictive means that the operation of the ‘always speaking’ doctrine must be excluded in relation to that enactment. Similarly the FTT had been wrong to find that VATA 1994 Sch 8 Group 3 was intended to be limited to items that were goods (i.e. ‘physical’) as opposed to services.

Writing for Tax Journal (24 January) Karen Killington (KPMG) observed: ‘No...

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