23rd June 2021
Covid-19 Scotland – As expected, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed yesterday that the country will move to Level 0 no earlier than 19th July, consistent with the rest of the country, and that all restrictions will be removed on August 9th, subject to the usual review, (in the case of August on all over 40s being fully vaccinated). This will come as a disappointment, to say the least, to our single site operators in particular, whose customers, not all of whom are open, continue to struggle with social distancing and other restrictions. Whilst I appreciate Governments’ caution, I am not persuaded given hospitalisations and deaths, that continuing restrictions, which are increasingly being ignored by the public in any case, will help much. In the meantime, the health and economic consequences will be felt keenly now for another month at least.
Business Support – The Tourism Alliance has organised a webinar on business support that members may be interested in attending. There will be a session on resolving disputes with banks, as well as support available to businesses that may be in danger of closing. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMsceitrzgrGtS_gBYBEo2e3OOSZcu0tWxF
VAT Reclaims (Linnewebber) – I have updated members a number of times on the outcome of two court hearings last year on historic VAT reclaims on various types of gambling machines known collectively as Rank, Done Bros, or LInnewebber cases. In essence, tax payers (ie members) who have claims for repayment of VAT for the period up until 2005 should have been repaid their incorrectly paid tax. As I have explained, HMRC, are being more than useless in paying out legitimate claims. The Court case for the period 2005 to 2013 we are led to believe also went well for taxpayers, yet the Judge’s ruling has still not be published so we cannot be sure. Whilst it is not possible to challenge the independence of the judiciary to act as they see fit, the importance of the case to businesses that have been struggling desperately during the pandemic, seems to have been lost.
I have written forcibly to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman. I think it would be helpful if members affected were to do the same via their MPs. I would suggest a short letter along the lines below, in your own words, setting out the impact on your own business.
Dear MP Name
My business……(describe your business).
We have made a claim for the repayment of VAT incorrectly paid on the income from gaming machines in the early part of this century. The first of these claims (for a period up until 2005), was upheld by a ruling of the High Court early last year (Rank and Done Bros v HMRC). HMRC have still not returned my money, money that is desperately needed as I try to get my business up and running following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, my claim for a VAT refund for the period 2005 to 2013, is standing behind another court case heard towards the end of 2020 (Also Rank and Done Bros v HMRC). The ruling in that case, expected earlier this year, has still not been published. If, as expected, the ruling is in favour of the taxpayer, the money due to me will go a long way to getting my business back to full economic health.
The delay in both cases is unacceptable. If I owed money to HMRC they would not let me hold on to it for well over a year.
I would be grateful if you could press the Financial Secretary to the Treasury for an explanation for these delays and a timetable for when repayments will be made.