12/12/09 – The embattled UK bingo industry received an early Christmas present this week when the UK tax authorities announced that it will accept that bingo games will be Valued Added Tax exempt.
The announcement follows HM Revenue and Customs' consideration of its failed High Court case against the Rank Group, where the group's mechanised bingo machines were classed as VAT exempt by the courts.
The publication Accountancy Age quotes official sources as confirming that the ruling includes all bingo games.
Deloitte senior indirect tax partner Tony McClenaghan said it was a "very positive announcement" for the industry, and those organisations affected should consider submitting claims for overpaid VAT.
"We believe that this is the right approach for an industry that has suffered in the last few years with an increasing burden in taxation," said Clenaghan.
However, with HMRC's appeal set for the courts in April 2010, the taxman has warned VAT claimants that if the government's appeal against the court ruling is successful, it would require the repayment of any reclaimed VAT with interest.
The VAT exemption follows a 2 percent cut on ‘bingo duties' from 22 percent to 20 percent announced in the budget earlier in the week by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and due to take effect from April 2010.