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Rank Group VAT Refunds Could Total GBP42m

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

18 December 2009

The Rank Group Plc, as a result of a VAT and Duties Tribunal ruling in its favor, will request a refund of GBP25.9m of overpaid VAT on amusement machines and expects to receive payment during the first quarter of 2010.

VAT was overpaid on certain types of amusement machines between 2002 and 2005. The decision follows an interim ruling from the Tribunal in August 2008 that the UK's VAT treatment of amusement machines contravened the European Union's principle of fiscal neutrality. This latest ruling confirms, amongst other things, that the ruling is valid for the full three years of Rank's claim period.

Rank has also claimed for VAT overpaid on main stage bingo for periods from July 2004. If successful, Rank estimates that the net cash benefit arising from this claim will be approximately GBP16m (before interest).

This claim relates to a separate ruling by the Tribunal in June 2008, which found in Rank's favor on the application of VAT to bingo. The application of VAT to revenue from games of interval bingo also contravened the European Union principle of fiscal neutrality. In June 2009, this ruling was upheld by the High Court.

Both the bingo and amusement machines rulings have been appealed by HMRC, and the Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear these appeals in April 2010.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at

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