Under Sheriffs win VAT recovery argument

Tax officials previously regarded services provided by Under Sheriffs and Sheriffs’ Officers in enforcing High Court judgement debts and those of the County Court transferred to the High Court for enforcement as supplies to the High Sheriffs. As the High Sheriffs are not in business for VAT purposes, the tax on these services was not recoverable by them.

But following an approach by the Under Sheriffs Association, and with the agreement of the Sheriffs’ Officers’ Association, Customs is now prepared to treat these debt enforcement services as supplies by Under Sheriffs to creditors.

As of 1 April 2000, where such creditors are registered for VAT, they will be able to recover tax charged by Under Sheriffs and Sheriffs’ Officers, subject to the normal rules.

Under Sheriffs and Sheriffs’ Officers may collect fees for their enforcement services from debtors, but they should issue VAT invoices only to creditors in all cases. Any documents issued to debtors should make it clear that they are not VAT invoices.

Related reading