In our January VAT update, we wrote about the House of Lords judgement in the cases Conde Nast and Fleming, which obliged HMRC to now repay VAT refunds accrued but not claimed for periods before 1996 right the way back to when VAT was introduced in 1973.

HMRC have since confirmed that this relates to underclaimed input tax and overpaid output tax. This represents a real opportunity for NHS organisations to submit claims in areas such as private patient drugs (input tax) or cold take-away food (output tax) for these periods.

Claims must be made by 1 March 2009 however at present, HMRC are withholding such claims by the NHS until further guidance is obtained by the Policy Branch.  We are currently in the process of formulating and submitting claims of behalf of our clients and would urge other NHS organisations to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss potential claims.