Landfill tax rule victory

The VAT tribunal upheld an appeal by construction firm Taylor Woodrow over Customs & Excise’s refusal to grant it exemption from landfill tax on part of a site it was redeveloping for a new Tesco superstore.

The site at Bury, near Manchester, had previously been used for domestic waste. The redevelopment involved the removal of over 10,800 tonnes of waste material, 2,800 tonnes of which Customs refused to exempt.

The standard rate of landfill tax is #7 per metric tonne of material removed, but there is no tax if the material in question is contaminated by waste or pollution.

Lovell White Durrant solicitor Greg Sinfield, who represented Taylor Woodrow, said the decision was of interest to anyone dealing with contaminated land.

‘Customs’ interpretation of landfill tax exemption rules has been shown to be wrong,’ he said. Customs was therefore not allowing exemptions to landfill tax when it should.

A spokesman for Taylor Woodrow said the firm was pleased at the outcome and would continue to work with Customs on landfill tax issues.

Deborah Sharp, a PricewaterhouseCoopers landfill tax expert, said: ‘This case is of fundamental importance to developers of brownfield sites as it defines the criteria Customs should apply in determining whether a landfill tax exemption certificate should be granted.’

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