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Blow for latest bid to remove council collection VAT break

A waste business that unsuccessfully challenged councils’ rights to claim VAT exemptions on trade waste collections has been dealt a blow in its fight to overturn the decision.

The Upper Tribunal refused north-east recycler Durham Company, trading as Max Recycle, permission to appeal the earlier High Court ruling.

In September 2016 the High Court ruled that whether a local authority was providing commercial waste collection services under section 45(1)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was a matter to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

This effectively meant there could be no blanket removal of councils’ rights to tax emption on commercial waste work, and was described by the Local Government Association at the time as a “huge victory for councils”.

Had the ruling gone the other way, the association warned that councils could have lost up to £77m a year from their waste budgets.

The Durham Company challenged the decision and requested permission to take its case to the Appeal Court.

But Mr Justice Nugee of the Upper Tribunal has refused permission, meaning that it will be up to the Court of Appeal itself to decide whether to accept the case.

Nugee said: “Given the analysis adopted by [High Court judge] Warren and my inability to see any arguable flaws in that analysis which have a real prospect of success, as I have said, I regard myself as obliged to refuse permission to appeal.”

Nugee added that he would ”leave it to the Court of Appeal to decide whether this is a case where, contrary to my views, the matters should be allowed to proceed to appeal”.

Max Recycle has been contacted for comment.  


Readers' comments (1)

  • IMO the ESA should lobbying the Government hard on this very issue. Councils that want to compete head on with the commercial waste sector should have to show that their service is financially sustainable and transparent. Too many state funded Councils are mocking this industry at the expense of the tax payer.

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