Landmark victory for plant hire company in red diesel VAT appeal against HMRC

Landmark victory for plant hire company in red diesel VAT appeal against HMRC

Plant hire company GAP Group Limited has succeeded in an appeal against HMRC relating to the rate of VAT charged on red diesel provided in plant equipment for hire.

The case, which is being heralded as a landmark victory, could have repercussions for the whole plant hire sector where companies may have been potentially charging a higher rate of VAT on red diesel than necessary depending on each company’s specific circumstances.

The case centred around GAP Group’s total fuel revenue in the financial years March 2017 to March 2020. HMRC maintained that the supply of plant machinery and the supply of diesel should be taxed together at a VAT rate of 20% as a single supply. GAP Group argued that these were two separate transactions for VAT purposes where the rate of VAT on the fuel, in this case red diesel, should be 5%.

The firm is a member of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA).

Speaking about the case, John Sibbald, president of the SPOA, said: “The SPOA welcomes this decision by the First Tier Tribunal. We are fortunate to have a member that has the resources to mount an appeal of this magnitude. The reality, however, is that lots of our members are SMEs and have simply followed the very limited and, in some cases, misleading guidance available. As a result, they could very easily have charged VAT at the incorrect level.

“The SPOA is grateful to member GAP Group for its actions in both bringing this case against HMRC and for highlighting this issue to the plant hire industry. In the last 24 hours HMRC has confirmed that there will be no appeal to this decision. I would urge all plant hire companies to take specific advice from tax experts if they are concerned about the level of VAT charged on fuel.”

Full details of the case can be found here.

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