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HMRC internal manual

VAT Land and Property

Exemption: European concept of 'leasing or letting of immovable property': essential characteristics: it must relate to a defined area of immovable property

There is no ‘leasing or letting of immovable property’ unless the agreement creates right of occupation of a defined area of immovable property.

The case of Sinclair Collis Ltd. C275/01 concerned agreements for positioning of cigarette vending machines in club premises in return for a percentage of profits. In finding that there was no leasing or letting of immovable property, the ECJ stated at paragraph 28 of its decision:

‘That finding is supported, first of all, by the fact that the agreement does not prescribe any precisely defined area or space for the installation of the vending machines at the premises. Contrary to the position in relation to the characteristics of a letting, the location of the machine is material only in so far as it enables the maximum possible number of sales to be generated. Subject to that criterion, under the agreement there is nothing to prevent the machines from being moved about, to a degree, as the site owner wishes.’ [Emphasis added]