Word games

Neil Warren considers ten common phrases that are used in the VAT legislation and HMRC’s public notices, and seeks to simplify them with practical examples about what they actually mean

I enjoyed the comment of the judge in th e recent Court of Appeal decision in the VAT case of Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation v HMRC [2021] EWCA Civ 910): 

‘The principles of VAT law can appear more obscure than they need, partly because some of the most important terms are unfamiliar to all but the specialists.’

I agree with what he says and have always tried to use simple words and phrases where possible, not easy in the complex world of the nation’s favourite tax. So, in this article, I will quote ten commonly used VAT phrases and try to simplify them with practical examples. Wish me luck! 

1. Place of supply