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Value Added Tax

Volume 892: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1975

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total number of staff employed and the total wage and salary bill of each of the VAT tribunal centres; and how many cases have been heard at each of the centres in each of the last three years.

Eight professional staff and 45 civil servants are employed in the VAT tribunal headquarters and at the tribunal centres. The total annual salary bill is £220,000. Most of the professional staff are employed for part of their time in the county courts and on industrial tribunals. There are also part-time tribunal members who are paid daily fees for attendance. These fees amounted to some £4,000 in the year ending 31st March 1975.

Number of appeals heard
Tribunal CentreOctober 1972 to December 197319741975 to dateAnnual salary bill at current prices
£
London34611651,000
Birmingham*8153
Manchester611262,000
Leeds*694
Edinburgh33119,000
BelfastNilNilNil16,000
Tribunal H.Q.72,000
220,000
* Costs have been included in the figures for centers which administer them.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received about the increased rate of VAT on repairs to electrical goods; and what reply he has sent.

We have received about 20 letters on this subject. In replying we have stated that we think it desirable that, in general, the 25 per cent. rate of VAT should apply to servicing and spare parts for goods which are themselves chargeable at 25 per cent., so as to reduce anomolies and to remove incentives to distortion of trade, and that in our view the 25 per cent. rate on servicing is not a factor which is likely to jeopardise safety in the home.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the increased revenue which will accrue in a calendar year from the raising to 25 per cent. of VAT on light aircraft used for pilot training purposes.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the increased revenue which will accrue in a calendar year from the raising of VAT on caravans.

The number of cases heard at each of the centres since October 1972 is shown in the table below. Birmingham and Leeds centres are now closed and their cases are being administered through London and Manchester. The cases heard represent only about 20 per cent. of all the appeals received. The majority of appeals are withdrawn before hearing.

in a full year from Groups 3 and 4 of the Higher Rate Schedule will accrue from Group 4 (caravans).

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a boat of less than 15 tons to be used as a public ferry is to be charged to VAT at the higher rate.

All boats of a gross tonnage of less than 15 tons are chargeable at the 25 per cent. rate of VAT. Any tax on purchases by a taxable person for the purpose of his business is, however, deductible as input tax subject to the normal rules.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the alteration, testing, repair or maintenance of a boat used for recreation or pleasure is to be subject to the higher rate of VAT but not similar expenditure on an aircraft or hovercraft so used.

Most servicing of aircraft and hovercraft is subject to certain statutory requirements and it was, therefore, considered inappropriate to include such servicing within the scope of the higher rate VAT charge. This consideration does not apply generally to boats.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why compasses, echo sounders, radar sets, logs, wind speed, wind direction and speed indicators, and other navigational and meteorological instruments and recorders are to be liable to the higher rate of VAT if used as an accessory to a boat used for recreation or pleasure, but not if so used on a hovercraft.

Accessories to boats falling within Group 3 of the VAT Higher Rate Schedule are chargeable at the 25 per cent. rate even if purchased for use on a hovercraft.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether an electric fan which can be used either to heat or cool is subject to the higher rate of VAT payable on fan coolers or to the lower rate payable on fan heaters.

Electric fires of this type are chargeable at the 8 per cent. standard rate of VAT.