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Which Rules Rule?

 
Christopher Vajda QC and Ian Hutton Monckton Chambers discuss the inter-relationship between contract law and VAT
 
A commentator recently observed in this journal that in Telewest Communications plc v Commissioners of Customs and Excise [2005] EWCA Civ 102 the Court of Appeal 'has accepted that it is possible to contract out of tax'.1
 
VAT is a product of the EC Treaty and the VAT Directives. It is intended to provide a uniform system of taxation across 25 Member States. English contract law is a set of domestic rules based on hundreds of years of case law and statute. In this article we briefly examine whether and if so to what extent VAT liabilities can be determined by the use of private domestic contract rules.
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