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Supreme Court in Airtours: Redrow redacted

Speed read

The Supreme Court’s decision in Airtours is the latest judgment on the operation of VAT in relation to tripartite arrangements. The decision confirms that the contractual analysis of the arrangements is both the necessary starting point and in many cases the only basis on which the arrangements can be analysed for the purposes of determining the supplies involved. As was made clear by the CJEU in Newey only where the contractual arrangements do not reflect the commercial and economic realities of the transaction should the courts depart from a purely contractual analysis. However the three to two majority decision is indicative of how different judges can reach differing views on the true contractual arrangements and the nature of the commercial and economic realities. Going beyond the decision itself the case raises (but does not ultimately answer) additional intriguing questions. On what basis would Airtours have...

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