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When Is An Error Not An Error?

04 April 2001 / John Price
Issue: 3801 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
JOHN PRICE FCA explores the answer to this interesting conundrum

'I fear that Switzerland Tourism (17068) may encourage confrontation rather than co-operation with Customs' I said. 'Switzerland Tourism has failed to extract interest from Customs on sums it overpaid when Customs told it to apportion its input tax between business and non-business activities.'

'How come?' asked the Busy Practitioner. 'I thought that if you overpaid you got interest. '

'No. Section 78 Value Added Tax Act 1994 requires an error on the part of Customs. If you misunderstand the law that is an error by you not Customs.'

'But you said Switzerland Tourism had a ruling.'

'Yes. A percentage split was reviewed on three control visits and altered twice over the years. Customs saw Switzerland Tourism as partly not in business because of a claimed activity of free provision of tourist information.'

'But isn't that what tourist offices do?' asked the Busy Practitioner.


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