Ian Bridge specialises in VAT. He is regularly instructed in substantial cases in an advisory capacity and as an advocate in the tax tribunals. He has been instructed in numerous criminal cases where VAT and tax fraud is alleged.

In this judgment he successfully resisted an appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal against a decision of the First Tier Tribunal to strike out evidence relating to alleged fraud.

The judgment is important in defining the circumstances in which HMRC can rely upon Regulation 14 of the VAT Regulations to deny input reclaims when it is alleged that the goods described did not exist. The decision also has ramifications for cases where a denial of a VAT reclaim is justified on the basis that despite paperwork suggesting the contrary goods have not actually been exported and hence the transactions are not VAT exempt.

In such cases the invoice is adequate to generate an input reclaim if on its face it meets with the Regulation 14. If VAT is to be denied in such cases HMRC must be able to prove on balance that the exporter knew or had the means of knowing that his transaction was connected to a fraudulent loss of VAT.

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