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Westinsure v HMRC

In Westinsure v HMRC [2014] UKUT 00452 (13 October 2014) the UT found that the services of a company providing a networking facility to insurance brokers were not exempt.

Brokers paid Westinsure a membership fee. Westinsure identified suitable insurers to take on as ‘partner insurers’: the partner insurers provided exclusive products and beneficial commissions to Westinsure’s members; and in return Westinsure agreed to promote their products to its members.

The issue was the categorisation of the services Westinsure provided to its members. Westinsure contended that its services were ‘related services performed by insurance brokers and insurance agents’ (Principal VAT Directive art 135.1(a)) and therefore exempt insurance services.

The UT noted that under CJEU case law in order to decide whether a person is an insurance broker one has to see whether ‘they are doing what an insurance broker … typically does’. It added that a broker...

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