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The VAT exemption for financial services: time to ‘take back control’?

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It has been ten years since the European Court’s judgment in AXA Denplan, which marked the beginning of a line of European Court judgments that have narrowed the scope of the VAT exemption for financial services. This is to be contrasted with the early 2000s when the UK courts, in cases such as FDR and EDS, favoured a broader interpretation of the exemption. After the end of the Brexit transitional period, the UK judiciary will have the opportunity to develop its own VAT jurisprudence. The taxpayer’s appeal in Target (a case concerning loan administration services) may be the first chance for the UK courts to ‘take back control’ and not to apply an overly restrictive approach to the VAT exemption.

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