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VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Removals of goods to other Member States - evidential requirements: Tribunal decisions: F E A Briggs Ltd

In the case of F E A Briggs Ltd - LON/94/1156A - an antique dealer sold two tables at a fair in December 1993. The buyer gave his name and said that he was from Holland, producing his business card and showing his Dutch address and VAT number. The appellant recorded these details on the invoice which he subsequently issued, obtaining the customer’s signature on his own copy. The customer paid in sterling notes. The appellant assumed that the buyer had a vehicle in which he was taking the tables back to Holland and on the invoice noted ’self’ as the shipper. The appellant then zero rated the sale of the tables as a removal to a VAT registered trader in another EU Member State.

During a control visit the officer requested the evidence of removal for this supply. Apart from the invoice, no evidence was available and an assessment was issued.

The Tribunal stated that EU law obliges Member States to lay down conditions preventing evasion, avoidance or abuse. These conditions, now contained in Notice 725, are authorised by UK primary and secondary legislation. In this case the appellant did not obtain a written order from the customer, assumed without asking that the goods were to be removed, and did not ask for the registration number of the buyer’s vehicle. He did not obtain any other evidence of removal from the UK. The Tribunal concluded that the conditions had therefore not been met and the appeal must fail.