V5.402 VAT appeals—the appellant: sufficient legal interest
Once it is established that the dispute lies within the tribunal's jurisdiction, it is necessary to establish that the appellant has sufficient interest in law (locus standi) to maintain an appeal. The tribunal may allow the substitution of an appellant or the addition of a party in appropriate circumstances1; for example, in Hilton-Foster2 the appellant had claimed an award of compound interest from HMRC, and wished to assign the consequent appeal against refusal to one of its creditors.
Legal interest in an appeal—the recipient of a supply
This question of locus standi is likely to arise in liability cases where it is the recipient of the supply who disputes the decision, particularly where such person is not registered for the purposes of VAT3. An early case failed because the customer paid the tax under protest, but without compulsion, extortion, undue influence or fraud and with full knowledge of all the relevant facts; in addition there was no arrangement for repayment of any tax recoverable, and the appellant stated at the hearing that she did not intend to seek repayment in the event of a favourable decision (the amount involved was 96p). The tribunal held that she had insufficient interest in maintaining the appeal in the absence of a right to recover the tax paid4. This decision was implicitly disapproved in a later decision5. The point was not fully argued in Baxter-Martin6, and the question was left open by the tribunal as the appeal failed
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