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Sandwell Council wins landmark ruling on VAT
4:21pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 in Local
A TRIBUNAL has made a landmark ruling that could mean Sandwell Council gets more than £1 million back from the VAT man on cemetery memorial charges.
The windfall could help pay for the refurbishment of Rowley Regis Crematorium, saving the council from having to borrow the cash.
Sandwell Council deputy leader Councillor Mahboob Hussain said: "In these difficult times where we are forced to make cuts it is welcome news to have won this test case.
"It is money that can now be ploughed back into the cemetery services and hopefully pay for the refurbishment of the Rowley Regis Crematorium."
At the London tribunal the council was successful in its claim that VAT should not be charged on personal memorials in connection with cremated ashes.
The council argued it was paying VAT twice on both the plots and the plaques, when they should be treated as a single supply and, therefore, incur one charge.
The tribunal's ruling is still subject to an appeal by HM Revenue and Customs, but if it stands, it could mean Sandwell would be paid back more than £1 million in VAT.
Cemeteries boss Brendan Day said: "We have been arguing this case for a number of years now so I am really pleased with the outcome.”