British gambling giant, Rank Group, was pleased with the news that the
High Court has upheld an earlier ruling that it should be reimbursed on Value
Added Tax (VAT) that it overpaid on gaming and interval bingo machines.
Rank Group argued that the taxes it paid to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
(HMRC) were not consistent with taxes demanded on other services of the same
The High Court agreed that the inconsistent application of VAT to the bingo
and gaming machines totally contravened the principle of fiscal neutrality as
demanded by European Union legislation.
The court thus ordered HMRC to reimburse Rank for £26 million. The tax
office has until June 29 to appeal the decision.
This is the Rank Group's second successful ruling by the court. The group
received £59.1 million in overpaid value added tax from the tax office in
November last year, following an order by the VAT and Duties Tribunal ruling
earlier in 2008.
The Tribunal will reconvene in October in order to rule on any outstanding
The Press Officer for HMRC, Jan Marszewski said: "We are studying the Court's
decision in detail as there are some important legal points to consider before
deciding our next course of action. The High Court's decision affects all
suppliers of mechanized cash bingo and we will be issuing a Revenue and
Customers Brief shortly advising on how any overpaid VAT can be claimed.
The ruling ends a three year run of bad luck for Ian Burke, Chief Executive
of the Rank Burke who has had to contend with a number of huge changes for the
casinos and bingo halls under his supervision, including the smoking ban, higher
taxes for the gambling industry, the doing away of high jackpot gaming machines
and, more recently, the recession.