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The Wellcome Trust Ltd v HMRC

In The Wellcome Trust Ltd v HMRC (Case C-459/19) (25 June 2020) Advocate General (AG) Hogan suggested that a taxable person carrying out a non-economic activity was required to account for the reverse charge on investment services used exclusively for its non-economic activity.

The Wellcome Trust engaged the services of suppliers based outside the EU to provide investment management services in relation to its large endowment portfolio. The trust generated significant income from this endowment portfolio but it was accepted that its investment activity was a ‘non-economic’ activity for VAT purposes (the status of the activity had been the subject of a previous CJEU judgment).

The trust was VAT registered as a result of separate (and comparatively minor) taxable activities. The investment management services were unrelated to these taxable activities and it was common ground that they were used exclusively for the purposes of the trust’s non-economic investment activity.


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