Following the recent Wickford Developments decision, any property developer who has been refused VAT refunds on installing manual roller blinds into new homes should review the VAT lost in the past 4 years with a view to making a claim from HMRC.
This decision follows that of an earlier case that HMRC chose to ignore (John Price) and HMRC were criticised for continuing with a policy that the courts had disagreed with.
Going forward, VAT recovery on all blinds should be reviewed and advice sought.
In addition, a detailed review of all the elements installed in a new build is often a worthwhile exercise as there are a number of contentious areas regarding what HMRC consider to be building materials ordinarily installed in a property. Over time, different items will become more commonplace and HMRC will be obliged to update their policy. HMRC guidance is often unclear and sometimes appears to suggest VAT recovery is not permitted, where in practice the law permits this.
A review could identify claims for the past (which can be made for up to 4 years from the end of a relevant VAT accounting period), as well as improving VAT recovery going forward.