VAT CHANGES – Finance Act 2013 and recent case law

Finance Act 2013 saw a number of changes to the VAT regime in Ireland.  The main changes are as follows:


  1. The threshold for Accounting for VAT on the money’s received basis has been increased from €1m to €1.25m with effect from 1st May 2013.


  1. The flat rate addition for unregistered farmers was reduced from 5.2% to 4.8% with effect from 1st January 2013.


  1. From 1st January 2013 the services threshold for VAT registration (i.e. if the turnover from the provision of services exceeds €37,500 there is an obligation to register for VAT) applies to the provision of sporting facilities and physical education facilities by public bodies.  This means that public authorities will not be obliged to register for VAT unless they exceed the threshold amount of €37,500 but they can elect to register for VAT if they so choose.


  1. Existing VAT legislation in relation to vouchers with a redeemable value provides that VAT arises at the time the voucher is supplied and not when the voucher is redeemed.  Anti Avoidance legislation was introduced in the 2013 Finance Act which confines this special rule to situations where vouchers are supplied to businesses that are established in the state.  For vouchers sold to businesses outside Ireland for onward supply they are not taxable on sale but when the redemption of the voucher takes place.


  1. The Finance Act brought in a number of changes with regard to receivers and liquidators in the context of supplies of services.

a)      New provisions were introduced to clarify that a receiver or liquidator who supplies taxable services in the course of either carrying on a business or winding up a business is liable for VAT on those services and/or rents.

b)      The liquidator and/or receiver is obliged to register for VAT, file VAT Returns and make the relevant payment of VAT in relation to the taxable supply.

c)      Where an immovable good is sold by a receiver or liquidator and where a joint option to tax the sale is exercised thereby making the purchaser accountable for VAT on a reverse charge basis, then subject to the normal deductibility rules, the purchaser is entitled to deduct the VAT incurred.

d)      Provisions were introduced transferring the obligations of the capital good owner to the receiver for the duration of the receivership including maintaining the capital good record, calculating any adjustment in deductibility resulting from the change in use of the capital good, remittance of tax, etc. and for the reversion of those obligations to the capital good owner at the end of the period of receivership.  There is also provision for the apportionment of VAT liabilities or input credit entitlements where receivership or possession commences or ends during a capital goods scheme interval.


In the recent High Court case of Ryanair Ltd v Revenue Commissioners [2013] EHC 195, Laffoy J held that Ryanair was not entitled to a VAT deduction on the professional fees incurred in connection with its bid to acquire the share capital of Aer Lingus.

Revenue Commissioners refused Ryanair’s refund claim following an unsuccessful bid to acquire the entire share capital of Aer Lingus because the VAT on professional fees was not part of the general costs of its business as transport operator i.e. it did not form an integral part of its overall economic activity and had no connection with its general business.  The matter was appealed to the Circuit Court which upheld Revenue’s decision.  The High Court held that the Circuit Court Judge was correct in law.



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