Fair organisers IACF say they may be forced to charge dealers VAT on stalls this year – even as they launch a legal appeal against new Revenue rules demanding the levy.
Keith Harris, chairman of IACF
(International Antiques and Collectors Fairs Ltd), alerted the
trade to the threat of a price
hike in July.
He told how HMRC argued that any add-on
service, such as promoting the fair or providing power or security,
that does attract a VAT charge is indivisible from the pitch rent,
which means VAT must be charged on the whole deal.
IACF and Nelson Fairs, who had been told to
charge VAT on previously exempt pitch rentals, had planned to hold
off doing so pending the outcome of a legal appeal. However, a
leading specialist barrister has now advised them to start charging
straight away because any ruling is unlikely before at least next
June and if the appeal fails they will not only be liable to pay
VAT on all pitch rentals from when the rules changed in November
2012, but they could also face a large fine.
Even with this warning, however, Mr Harris
and Nelson Fairs have not confirmed that they will, indeed,
introduce VAT on pitch rentals immediately, and they want to
consult other fair organisers before pressing ahead.
IACF who rent out over 30,000 pitches a year
at Newark, Ardingly, Shepton Mallet, Swinderby and Newbury, are
concerned that other organisers may not be sufficiently aware of
the implications of not complying with the new rules as soon as
Any organiser who thinks they may be affected and would like to
take part in a summit meeting with IACF, Nelson Fairs and others on
the issue can contact ATG via email at firstname.lastname@example.org