The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has upheld an appeal by the University of Huddersfield over a "lease and lease back" of a building, which the FTT found amounted to a deferral scheme with a built-in feature that allowed absolute saving at a later date – see The University of Huddersfield Higher Education Corporation v HMRC [2013] UKFTT 429 (TC).

The case relates to an assessment raised in 2000 and returned to the FTT following its reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ). The ECJ left it to the tribunal to apply its decision and, in particular, to consider whether the arrangements amounted to an "abuse".

The FTT decided that they did not. It paid particular regard to the fact that, at the outset, this was just a deferral scheme and it was not until the arrangement was collapsed in 2004 that an absolute saving was crystallised.

The decision is already the subject of an appeal to the Upper Tribunal by HMRC.

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