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Unspecified activities

20 February 2017
Issue: 4588 / Categories: Tax cases

British Film Institute v CRC (Case C-592/15), CJEU, 15 February 2017

VAT exemption of cultural activities

Between 1 January 1990 and 31 May 1996 the British Film Institute (BFI) a non-profit-making body paid VAT at the standard rate on rights of admission to film screenings. In March 2009 it applied for a repayment of the VAT paid during that period on the basis that the admission rights constituted exempt cultural services under Art 13A(1)(n) of the EC Sixth Directive. HMRC refused.

The First-tier and Upper Tribunals agreed with the BFI and the matter proceeded to the Court of Appeal which referred the case to the Court of Justice of the EU for a preliminary ruling.

The court said the exemption in Art 13A(1)(n) referred to ‘certain cultural services’ but did not specify which ones. As a result it was for the member states to determine which services were to benefit. Given that member states could exempt...

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