TaxCorporate TaxBronte museum wins marathon VAT battle

Bronte museum wins marathon VAT battle

The Bronte Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, home of legendary literary sisters Emily, Anne and Charlotte, has won a 13-year battle with Customs & Excise over VAT exemption.

Link: Customs faces VAT rebate crisis

The museum has been refunded £596,000, including interest, by Customs based on VAT payments dating back more than 10 years, according to the Yorkshire Post.

In its battle with Customs, the museum claimed that it was a volunteer organisation – its trustees are all unpaid – and hence should be exempt from VAT.

Customs maintained that because it did employ some staff it should not be exempt.

Victory for the Yorkshire attraction was built around last year’s landmark ruling in the European Court of Justice, which found in favour of the Zoological Society of London, which also has unpaid trustees responsible for Whipsnade Animal park, London Zoo and other zoos.

According to Ernst & Young, accountants to the ZSL, the decision in favour of the Bronte museum should see other organisations like museums, theatres and galleries qualify for significant refunds of overclaimed VAT.

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