Unjust enrichment: Primary legislation: Section 80A of the VAT Act 1994
The general principles behind the reimbursement arrangements under which businesses can claim overpaid VAT from HMRC and then pass it back to their customers are set out in section 80A of the VAT Act 1994 which provides as follows:
“80A Arrangements for reimbursing customers
(1) The Commissioners may by regulations make provision for reimbursement arrangements made by any person to be disregarded for the purposes of section 80(3) except where the arrangements—
(a) contain such provision as may be required by the regulations; and
(b) are supported by such undertakings to comply with the provisions of the
arrangements as may be required by the regulations to be given to the Commissioners.
(2) In this section “reimbursement arrangements” means any arrangements for the purposes of a claim under section 80 which—
(a) are made by any person for the purpose of securing that he is not unjustly enriched by the crediting of any amount in pursuance of the claim; and
(b) provide for the reimbursement of persons who have for practical purposes borne the whole or any part of the amount brought into account as mentioned in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) or (1A) of that section.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, the provision that may be required by regulations under this section to be contained in reimbursement arrangements includes—
(a) provision requiring a reimbursement for which the arrangements provide to be made within such period after the crediting of the amount to which it relates as may be specified in the regulations;
(b) provision for cases where an amount is credited but an equal amount is not reimbursed in accordance with the arrangements;
(c) provision requiring interest paid by the Commissioners on any amount paid (or repaid) by them to be treated in the same way as that amount for the purposes of any requirement under the arrangements to make reimbursement or to repay the Commissioners;
(d) provision requiring such records relating to the carrying out of the arrangements as may be described in the regulations to be kept and produced to the Commissioners, or to an officer of theirs.
(4) Regulations under this section may impose obligations on such persons as may be specified in the regulations—
(a) to make the repayments, or give the notifications, to the Commissioners that they are required to make or give in pursuance of any provisions contained in any reimbursement arrangements by virtue of subsection (3)(b) or (c) above;
(b) to comply with any requirements contained in any such arrangements by virtue of subsection (3)(d) above.
(5) Regulations under this section may make provision for the form and manner in which, and the times at which, undertakings are to be given to the Commissioners in accordance with the regulations; and any such provision may allow for those matters to be determined by the Commissioners in accordance with the regulations.
(6) Regulations under this section may—
(a) contain any such incidental, supplementary, consequential or transitional provision as appears to the Commissioners to be necessary or expedient; and
(b) make different provision for different circumstances.
(7) Regulations under this section may have effect (irrespective of when the claim for credit was made) for the purposes of the crediting of any amount by the Commissioners after the time when the regulations are made; and, accordingly, such regulations may apply to arrangements made before that time.”