You may wonder why I give this apparently uninteresting item pride of place. Read on. HMRC Brief 02/2011 will take your breath away.

Mr Price made a claim to recover VAT input tax on roller blinds which he said were building materials. HMRC refused the claim, and the matter went to the Tax Tribunal. No problem with that; that is what the Tribunal is for. As it happens, he won.

However, following the Tribunal’s decision, HMRC published Brief 02/2011. It says:  

The Tribunal agreed with [Mr Price] that roller blinds were building materials (as defined). As a result [Mr Price] was entitled to treat the VAT incurred on the purchase of the blinds as recoverable.

HMRC’s view remains unchanged that roller blinds are not building materials as defined and will not be changing its policy.