Matalan Retail Ltd v Revenue and Customs: ChD 5 Aug 2009

The taxpayer imported swimwear for sale. The respondent had incorrectly indicated that such swimwear had one classification. The claimant sought to prevent the respondent reclassifying the goods, saying that they had made given binding tariff information. It depended on the proportion of rubber in the suits. The respondent viewed the calculation differently.
Held: the commissioners were not prevented by estoppel or abuse from retaining the monetary difference between the correct higher rates paid and the sums which would have been due under the original lower classification.
The Binding Tariff Information system could only apply to goods of the precise description applied. It could not apply to different but similar lines: ‘A Regulation is legislative in character and of general application. A BTI is specific to an individual and can only be relied upon by the holder in respect of goods corresponding in every respect with those described in it. Regulation 651/2007 does not contain the limiting provisions as to its application specified by the Code in respect of BTIs.’ A tribunal’s decision on a rate of tax for one year is not binding for subsequent years, but where a court has settled an issue of fact as between parties, they are estopped from later arguing inconsistently. A tribunal determining a rate of applicable tax is not so bound.

Christopher Clarke J
[2009] EWHC 2046 (Ch), Times 21-Oct-2009, [2010] Bus LR D25, [2009] STC 2638
Council Regulation 2913/92
England and Wales
CitedVtech Electronics (UK) Plc v The Commissioners of Customs and Excise ChD 29-Jan-2003
. .
CitedKrings GmbH v Oberfinanzdirektion Nurnberg ECJ 4-Mar-2004
Europa Common Customs Tariff – Combined Nomenclature – Tariff heading – Preparation with a basis of extract of tea. . .
CitedCaffoor v Columbo Income Tax Commissioner PC 1961
Taxation and rating decisions are sui generis. Lord Radcliffe said: ‘The critical thing is that the dispute which alone can be determined by any decision given in the course of these proceedings is limited to one subject only, the amount of the . .
CitedBroken Hill Pty Co Ltd v Broken Hill Municipal Council PC 10-Nov-1925
A decision of the High Court of Australia on the construction of a section of a statute dealing with rating value did not estop the parties from relitigating the issue on a subsequent year’s assessment. . .
CitedSociety of Medical Officers of Health v Hope HL 1960
A local valuation court had decided in 1951 that the Society’s land was exempt from rates under section 1 of the 1843 Act. The exemption was conditional on certain facts relating to the Society and its purpose in occupying the building. In 1956 the . .
CitedCommissioners of Customs and Excise v DFS Furniture Company Plc CA 6-Dec-2002
. .
CitedSpecialist Group International Ltd v Deakin and Another CA 23-May-2001
Law upon res judicata – action estoppel and issue estoppel and the underlying policy interest whereby there is finality in litigation and litigants are not vexed twice on the same matter.
(May LJ) ‘the authorities taken as a whole tend to . .
CitedHoysted v Federal Taxation Commissioner PC 1926
An implied decision of the High Court on the true construction of a will estopped the parties from contending for a different construction relating to a later year’s assessment. . .
CitedJohnson v Gore Wood and Co HL 14-Dec-2000
Shareholder May Sue for Additional Personal Losses
A company brought a claim of negligence against its solicitors, and, after that claim was settled, the company’s owner brought a separate claim in respect of the same subject-matter.
Held: It need not be an abuse of the court for a shareholder . .
CitedIn re Vandervell’s Trusts (No 1); Vandervell Trustees Limited v White and Others HL 15-Jul-1970
Practice – Parties – Joinder – Proceedings between subjects raising issues material to income tax – Joinder of Commissioners of Inland Revenue – Income Tax Act 1952 (15 and 16 Geo. 6 and 1 Eliz. 2, c.10), ss. 52 and 64 ; Income Tax Management Act . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Customs and Excise, Taxes Management, Estoppel, European

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.371884