Mobile firms chase £3.9bn VAT refund
The UK's five mobile phone operators today began legal proceedings to try and claim back £3.9bn in VAT from the government following the £22.5bn 3G licence auctions in 2000.
O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, and 3 paid the huge sums of money at the height of the dotcom boom, but never received a VAT invoice.
Lawyers representing the operators will claim the government sold the licences in a commercial capacity, and will argue that the auction price did include VAT, reports the Guardian.
The government, however, claims that the licences were sold while it was acting as a public body, meaning no VAT was levied and therefore cannot be reclaimed.
The five operators claim will be buoyed by the fact that the High Court has already described the auction process as being carried out in a ‘commercial capacity…to maximise the revenues of the state’.