£4.6 million success for Joshua Carey in the Tax Tribunal: Gooch Technology Limited -v- The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs

Gooch Technology Limited (“Gooch”) was assessed on nearly £27.7M of supplies for various alcoholic beverages. It said that it made those supplies to a company based in Belgium and consequently they were not liable to charge or pay VAT. The Revenue asserted that the sales were made by Gooch to UK based traders and payment was made in cash both to it, and then Gooch in turn paid its supplier in cash. It was suggested that the alcohol being supplied was the product of an inward diversion fraud. The Tribunal found that Gooch’s supplies were made in the UK market, and not to the Belgium based company. It considered that Mr Carey’s cross-examination exposed a “vague and evasive” director; a style which persisted throughout the course of the hearing. The consequence of the findings that the sales were made by Gooch to UK traders meant that it should have been registered for VAT, and that it was liable to both charge and pay VAT as it had crossed the VAT registration threshold.

Joshua Carey commented: "This case provides a stark illustration about the dangers prevalent in the alcohol industry. Traders should continue to be vigilant in their reviews of their supply chains, and know the counterparties that they are dealing with."

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