Requirements of a claim: case law support
The decision in University of Liverpool was later endorsed by the Tribunal in the decisions in John Martin Group (VAT Tribunal Decision 19257);  BVC 4025. The London Institute (now known as the University of the Arts, London) (VAT Tribunal decision 19362);  BVC 4045 and The Medical House Plc (VAT Tribunal decision 19859);  BVC 4037.
In its decision in Reed Employment Ltd –v- CRC  UKFTT 200 (TC);  SFTD 720, the First-tier Tribunal defined a claim in the following terms:
‘ There is no definition of ‘claim’ in the VATA, nor any provision for amendment of a claim. The starting point, therefore, we think is that any assertion of a right to repayment must be regarded as an individual, discrete claim, separate from any other, unless it is shown to be in essence as one with an earlier claim.
 That test, in our view, will be satisfied only if the later claim arises out of the same subject matter as the original claim, without extension to facts and circumstances that fall outside the contemplation of the earlier claim. Without deciding matters outside of this appeal, we consider, for example, that this would generally include cases where a particular computation was not made at the time of the original claim, but the subject matter of the claim was sufficiently identified for such a calculation made subsequently to be related back to the original claim. Simple calculation errors would similarly be included. It should also cover, we think, cases where particular items within the category of the subject matter of the original claim are unknown or not fully identified at the time of the original claim, and would but for that fact have been included in the original claim, but only subsequently come to light.’
This decision was upheld in the Upper Tribunal which added that:
‘33. If subsequent to the submission of a claim, the taxpayer sends in the correction of a mistake, whether that be an arithmetical error or through the omission of some supplies that were clearly intended to be included, then I consider that would clearly not be a new claim but an amendment. Further, if the taxpayer making a claim says that he is not yet able to calculate the full figures and gather all the documentation as required by reg 37, but is in the course of doing so and will provide such further details as soon as possible, such further submission would not constitute a new claim but fall within the scope of the existing claim. Thus I consider that what is an amendment is very much a question of fact and degree, judged by the particular circumstances. I therefore respectfully agree with the test set out by the FTT in the first sentence of para 111. However, of the examples given in that paragraph, I would not wish to approve in the abstract the final example: that would be for consideration on the particular facts of the case should it arise.
- Mr Peacock gave the example of a claim for a particular accounting period in respect of supplies in London, where the taxpayer subsequently wrote to ask for repayment in respect of supplies made for the same accounting period in the rest of England. However, in my judgment, unless there was some express reservation in the initial claim of the kind that I have indicated, the later request would clearly constitute a separate claim. So also if Reed initially sought to claim reimbursement of allegedly overpaid VAT only for its placement services in the healthcare sector, and subsequently made a demand for repayment as regards another part of its business, notwithstanding that this was for the same accounting period and arising out of the same error.’