Debenhams loses Lords appeal

Debenhams has been refused leave to appeal in its case with HM Revenue &
Customs over card handling.

The House of Lords appellate committee has turned down a request to appeal,
meaning the Court of Appeal’s judgment in favour of the Revenue will now stand.

Debenhams had set up a card-handling subsidiary which channeled a percentage
of all payments to a card-handling subsidiary, and meaning that element of every
payment was exempt from VAT.

The scheme was used by about 90 retailers, allowing them to avoid £550m in
tax. It has proved especially controversial since HMRC expressed an intention to
pursue users of the scheme and land them with a further bill for other
relationships the schemes threw up.

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