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VAT, private school fees and anti-forestalling provisions: how far is too far (back)?

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If the Labour government were to enact the party’s proposal to charge VAT on private school fees, in principle the current ‘VAT-free’ status could be preserved for (say) the 2025/26 school year by prepaying the fees for that year earlier. It is likely, however, that any VAT changes would likely include anti-forestalling legislation to challenge these prepayments. The question is then how far back could the anti-forestalling rules apply? There is no avoidance here from a technical perspective to justify the use of retrospective legislation applying from before the Labour party has even been elected (and before any ministerial statement confirming the VAT changes has been made).

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