Tax Rebates & Refunds

Historic toll bridge owners could receive huge tax rebate

November 18, 2012
Posted in Tax Rebates — Written by Jennifer

The owners of a historic toll bridge on the border between Oxfordshire and Berkshire could be in line for a tax rebate worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Whitchurch Bridge, which has crossed the Thames since 1792, is owned by The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge. It has been replaced twice before in its history and the owners now want to replace the decaying landmark again. The last time it was rebuilt was 1902, more than 100 years ago.

However, the company is now arguing that it shouldn’t have to pay VAT on the construction costs of replacing the bridge. David Southern, representing the company , says that according to the Whitchurch Bridge Act 1792 which was re-enacted in 1988, the bridge should not be subject to any rates, taxes or duties.

Mr Southern said:

“The intention of Parliament was that the bridge should be in a neutral position as regards taxation, since by virtue of its function as a public body created by Parliament, the company performs its obligations with no recourse to public funds.”

Her Majesty’s Treasury disagrees, however, and Mr Justice Burnett has now been asked to resolve the dispute and decide whether the bridge’s owners get their tax rebate of £700,000 or not.

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