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Were spiritual retreats ‘state regulated’?

24 January 2022
Issue: 4825 / Categories: Tax cases
Reverend J Taylor trading as Mill House Retreats (TC8315)

The taxpayer organised spiritual gatherings – known as Mill House Retreats – and claimed that the fees she charged were exempt from VAT as welfare services organised by a state-regulated body (VATA 1994 Sch 9 Group 7 para 9).

The First-tier Tribunal said the main issue was whether the retreats were state regulated. It agreed with HMRC that the courses were ‘regulated by the state’ rather than ‘state regulated’. They therefore failed one of the requirements for exemption. To be state regulated there must be a link or control to a government minister or act of parliament.

The taxpayer was a licensed priest supervised by the Church of England and she claimed that the minister condition was met because the Bishop of Exeter was a minister for the Church of England. But the tribunal said his was not the correct reference to a minister – which...

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