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23 Oct 2020

Cash boost for Northern Ireland in landmark VAT case
BY Tom Walker

The case centred on whether VAT should be payable on charges paid by members of the public for access to leisure facilities provided by councils

The case centred on whether VAT should be payable on charges paid by members of the public for access to leisure facilities provided by councils
photo: Shutterstock.com//wavebreakmedia

Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which could see councils in the country receive a multi-million pound payday.

The case centred on whether VAT should be payable on charges paid by members of the public for access to gyms, sports, recreation and leisure facilities provided by councils.

A tribunal agreed with MUDC's view that charges paid since 2006 were "outside the scope of the VAT regime" and that the VAT should be repaid, resulting in paybacks for all 11 councils in the region.

In total, the refunds are estimated to be worth between £50m and £70m.

Cathal Mallaghan, MUDC chair, said: "This is a mammoth victory from which each and every council here, and their ratepayers, will benefit substantially.

"Given the significant financial pressures which we all face as a result of the pandemic, the timing could not be any better.

While our sector gains as a whole, this case would not even have been taken, let alone succeeded without Mid Ulster’s Finance Director, JJ Tohill.

"JJ’s expertise, hard work and dogged determination over a sustained period, together with a brilliant legal team, has brought us all to this landmark win."



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