The Court was asked as to the effectiveness of a scheme, known as Project C, designed to minimise the overall liability to VAT of a group of companies involved in motor breakdown insurance.
Held: The court dismissed WHA’s appeal. There had been no supply of repairs to WHA. The justifications for the project relied upon there being such a supply, and the scheme therefore failed. The Court of Appeal had been wrong to disagree with the decision of the VAT and Duties Tribunal as to the construction and effect of the arrangements involved. Accordingly it said nothing about the principle of abuse of right. It follows that the observations of the Court of Appeal on abuse of right were not binding as a matter of ratio, but they remain persuasive.
Lord Reed said that ‘ . . The contractual position is not conclusive of the taxable supplies being made as between the various participants in these arrangements, but it is the most useful starting point’
Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Walker, Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath
 UKSC 24, UKSC 2009/0074,  STC 943,  BVC 155,  STI 1769,  2 All ER 907
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Council Directive 67/227/EEC, Council Directive 77/388/EEC, Value Added Tax Act 1994
England and Wales
At ChD – WHA Ltd and Another v Customs and Excise ChD 28-Feb-2003
The taxpayer appealed against a finding that it was unable to recover input VAT in its transactions. A scheme had been devised for the processing of claims and repairs in motor vehicle accidents.
Held: (1) WHA could treat the VAT payable on . .
At CA – WHA Ltd and Another v Customs and Excise CA 14-May-2004
Appeal from – WHA Ltd and Another v Revenue and Customs CA 17-Jul-2007
The court considered the European principle of abuse of right.
Held: Lord Neuberger, delivering the leading judgment rejected the submission that the court was confined to considering the artificiality or purpose of each individual step, since . .
Cited – Commissioners of Customs and Excise v Redrow Group Plc HL 11-Feb-1999
Where house builders had paid the estate agents’ fees for exchanged property on sales, the supply had been, at least in part, to the builder, and the builder could accordingly recover the agents’ VAT as input tax. A supplier could be treated as . .
Cited – Revenue and Customs v Aimia Coalition Loyalty UK Ltd SC 20-Jun-2013
Decisions about the application of the VAT system are highly dependent upon the factual situations involved. The case-law of the Court of Justice indicates that, when determining the relevant supply in which a taxable person engages, regard must be . .
Cited – Pendragon Plc and Others v HM Revenue and Customs CA 23-Jul-2013
The Revenue had imposed a penalty on the appellants saying that their arrangement for the sale and VAT taxation of demonstrator cars was, in European law terms. The taxpayer sought re-instatment of the First Tier Tribunal judgment in its favour.
Cited – Airtours Holidays Transport Ltd v Revenue and Customs SC 11-May-2016
The court was asked whether the appellant, Airtours Holidays Transport Ltd (formerly MyTravel Group plc), was entitled to recover, by way of input tax VAT charged by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in respect of services provided by PwC and paid for by . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.503503