*Revenue and Customs Commissioners v British Telecomunications Plc

Value added tax – Bad debt relief. BT's application for bad debt relief for the period 1 January 1978 to 31 March 1989 had been refused by the Revenue and Customs Commissioners. The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) had answered a number of preliminary issues, concluding that the claim to enforce its EU law right to bad debt relief had not been time-barred as s 39(5) of the Finance Act 1997 fell to be disapplied or construed in a way so as not to affect the exercise of the taxpayer's EU rights, which would otherwise have been time barred by that section. The Revenue appealed and the taxpayer cross-appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal in part, finding that the enactment of s 39(5) was not one that had infringed the taxpayer's directly enforceable EU rights to claim bad debt VAT relief in respect of its supplies made prior to 31 March 1989, so had not fallen to be disapplied. The taxpayer's cross-appeal was dismissed as the tribunal had been correct to find that s 80 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 had had no relevance.

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