Tax Rebates & Refunds

Whitchurch bridge owners turned down for VAT tax rebate

December 24, 2012
Posted in Tax Rebates — Written by Jennifer

The owners of an historic toll bridge on the River Thames have been left disappointed after a High Court judge ruled that it does not qualify for a VAT tax rebate worth around £700,000.

Whitchurch toll bridge, situated between Berkshire and Oxfordshire, was reconstructed in 1902 from a bridge that was originally on the site. It now needs to be restored again, which owners The Whitchurch Bridge Company believe will cost around £4 million.

The Whitchurch Bridge Company initially argued that it should not have to pay VAT on the costs of the reconstruction due to the terms of the Act of Parliament which was granted on the Grade II listed structure back in 1792 when the original bridge was built. As the Act states that the structure should not be subject to any “rate, tax or duty whatsoever”, the Company believes that it should get a VAT tax rebate of £700,000 after reconstruction has taken place.

However, a judge has now rejected the tax refund claim, stating that a specific exemption would be required in order for the terms of the Act to still apply. The Whitchurch Bridge Company’s Geoff Weir said:

“We’re disappointed as it means more tolls will have to be collected to pay for the reconstruction.

“We will be looking carefully at the judgement and consulting with our legal advisers.”

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