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Dance lessons qualify for the private tuition exemption

22 July 2019
Issue: 4705 / Categories: Tax cases
Anna Cook (TC7149)

Private tuition given by a sole trader or member of a partnership is exempt from VAT as long as it is in a ‘subject ordinarily taught in a school or university’ (VATA1994 Sch 9 group 6 item 2). 

The taxpayer provided Ceroc dance lessons under a franchise agreement. The classes were held at 11 venues in Norfolk and were described as a ‘fun night out and a way of meeting members of the opposite sex’. Attendees paid between £5 and £8 for a session which included a licensed bar and disc jockeys to play the music. The priority was to promote ‘entertainment socialising and dance tuition’.

HMRC decided the sessions were ‘recreational’ rather than ‘educational’ so the exemption did not apply. As a result the taxpayer should have registered for VAT between October 2010 and 16 September 2012 because total sales exceeded the registration threshold on 31 August...

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