On 19 December 2017, HMRC published Revenue & Customs Brief 4 (2017) following the Supreme Court’s decision in HMRC v The Investment Trust Companies (in liquidation)6 . Our earlier commentary on this decision can be viewed here.

The new HMRC Brief purports to set out HMRC’s view of the Supreme Court judgment, and replaces HMRC Brief 15 (2013). The new Brief essentially summarises the Court’s conclusions.

As such, HMRC’s publically stated view is now that final consumers cannot make restitutionary claims against HMRC for overpaid VAT that they have not been able to recover from their suppliers, save in “extremely limited” circumstances. HMRC have declined to offer any examples or further guidance as to when recovery of overpaid VAT from a supplier might be “impossible or excessively difficult”, acknowledged by the Supreme Court as a caveat to its decision on the possibility of restitutionary claims by consumers.

The HMRC Brief can be viewed here.